law revision on pre-trial procedures in criminal cases

law revision

pre-trial hearings

where can minor offences be dealt with?


when is it likely for a minoroffence to be dealt with, on the first hearing in magistrates?

where defendant pleads guilty and is either already legally represented or doesn't want legal representation

what can happen in driving offences?

defendant can plead guilty by post, so that no attendance to court is necessary, magistrates can adjourn the case if they need to get further information about the defendant

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pre-trial hearings-categories of offences

what seriousness of offence goes to which court and give an example...

least serious- is a summary offence, goes to magistrates
e.g driving without insurance, taking vehicle without consent, common assult

triable either way offence- magistrates' or crown court
e.g theft, assulting, causing bodily harm, obtaining property by deception

most serious- is an indictable offence, goes to crown court e,g murder, manslaughter, **** and robbery

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pre-trial procedure for summary offences

when is adjournment required?

almost always when defendant doesn't plead guilty as witnesses will have to be brought into court

CPS doesn't have enough information about the case

whether defendant should be remanded on bail or in custody

magistrates' want pre-sentence reports on defendant who pleads guilty before they decide what sentence to impose

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pre-trial procedure for summary offences

what is an EAH?

early administrative hearings it's the first hearing, in order to prevent unnecessary delays

who is the EAH dealt by?

done by a single lay magistrates or clerk of the court

what is the hearing aimed at?

to know if defendant wants to apply for legal aid, enquire if he/she is eligible for it, requesting pre-sentence or, medical reports, decide whether defendant should remain in custody or bail

why is there limit on clerk's power?

cannot change any conditions where bail has previously been granted

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pre-trial procedure -cases going for trial at the

what happens to triable either way offences when going for trial at the crown court?

further hearings at the magistrates' court for the plea before venue and mode of trial has to be decided.

if the case is to go for trial to the crown court, then it will be transferres there

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pre-trial procedure -cases going for trial at the

what happens to indictable offences when going to crown court for trial?

sent to crown court immediately after EAH in magistrate's cour

pre-trial matters are dealt by the judge of the crown court

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what does being on bail allow?

allows defendant to be at liberty until the next hearing of the case.

decided on pre-trial matter, whether the defendant should stay in custody or whether bail should be granted while awaiting the civil trial

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pre-trial procedure -bail

when will police grant bail?

on the condition that they appear on the next hearing of the case and to be present in the station in the future

who is it decided by?

decided by custody officer, can refuse it if name and address given by suspect wasn't found or details weren't genuine

if the a person fails to be present on a set date, the police can do what?

have powers to arrest him/her

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what are the types of condition on a grant of bail?

surrender his/her passport, report at regular times in station

or get a person to stand surety for him/her

when can these conditions only be imposed?

to ensure that defendant surrenders to bail,

doesn't commit an offence whilst on bail, doesn't interfere with the process of justice,

doesn't cause damage to evidence/witness

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what is no police bail?

where defendant has been refused bail by police on first hearing,
on first hearing at magistrates' (done ASAP), courts will decide whether defendant should be granted bail or kept in custody

what happens to the majority of those prosecuted?

they are summonsed to court, rather than charged,
this means that the question of bail or custody is not relevant, they are automatically at liberty

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pre-trial procedure -bail act 1976

what does the bail act 1976 put forward?
that any accused person should be granted bail unless court has reasonable grounds for believing that

defendant will fail to be present at set dates,

commit a criminal offence whilst released on bail, interfere in the process of justice

what should the court consider when granting bail?seriousness of the crime,

strength of the evidence against the suspect, community ties of the defendant,

whether they have turned up before when bail has been granted

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pre-trial procedure -bail act 1976

if defendant is charged with an offence that is not punishable by imprisonment, why can bail be refused?

if he/she failed to surrender to bail before and there are reasonable grounds for believing that he/she will not surrender on this occasion too

if bail is granted what are the conditions which the court can grant bail?

these are similar to the police conditions, another will be must reside while on bail, at home address or at a bail hostel

what is an exception circumstance for granting bail in indictable offences?

defendant has already served custodial sentence

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what are some comments on the bail act?

many in prison are waiting for trial& could have been granted bail

prison population increasing

there will be more places for ordinary prisoners

protection of public by keeping those suspects in prison

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what is a surety?

another person who is prepared to promise to pay the court a certain sum of money if defendant fails to attend court

court can require a 2nd person to stand as surety for defendant

different from other countries,
where the surety has to pay a sum of money to court and if defendant is successful in attending court at set dates, the person gets money back (e.g USA)

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what renewed applications and appeals can be made?

only one further aplication can be made to the magistrates', unless there is a change of circumstance

what can the defendant appeal?

a refusal to grant bail or a defendant who has been sent for trial to the crown court can also apply there for bail

such an appeal is made to who?

a judge at the crown court

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what are the restrictions on bail inthe anti-terrisom crime and securityact 2001?

allows foriegn citizens who are suspected of a terrorism activity to be detained without trial, where this occurs they have no right to bail

what are the restrictions of bail when its a repeat of serious offences?

where person is charged with indictable offences and they have already served a custodial sentence,

courts must have reasonable grounds for believing that it is an exceptional situation to grant bail

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what happens if defendant has already committed a crime whilst on bail?

must not be granted bail unless there is no risk of defendant committing an offence again

what are the restrictions on bail for adult drug users?

bail not granted for defendants, found guilty of possession or dealing with class A drugs.

bail granted only if courts have reasonable grounds that there is not risk that the defendant will commit another offence whilst on bail

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what right did the bail act 1993 give the prosecution?

prosecution can appeal to judge at crown court against the granting of a bail

what offences does this apply to?

all offences punishable by imprisonment

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pre-trial procedure -bail

what are the balancing conflict interests?
too many people are refused bail as about 20% of those in prisons are defendants who have not been tried yet,

some of these will be found not guilty and not be compensated for the time they spent in custody

even ifdefendant is later found guilty, most of them are given non-custodial sentences (60%)

criminal justice system has to balance the conflicting interests of the defendant against the needs of the public to be protected from potentially dangerous criminals

prevent offender from re-offending given provision of bail hostels, also electronic tagging helps police to know if any conditions attached to bail to a certain area are broken

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