Pre trial procedure for summary offences
- It's possible to deal with cases at first appearance, however adjournment is often required to allow the CPS to retrieve all information needed to complete the case or the defendant to recieve legal advice.
- Magistrates may also want a pre-sentence report on a defendant that has pleaded guilty before deciding a sentence.
- When a defendant pleads not guilty adjournment is almost always necessary as witnesses are required and bail or custody will need to be decided on.
- Early Administrative Hearings (EAH) - Prevents unnecessary delays and can be dealt with by a single lay magistrate or clerk. It's aimed to see if a defendant wants legal aid and if they're eligable, requesting pre-sentence of medical reports where relevant. This is also used to decide if a defendant should be remanded in custody or bail, however there is a limit on a clerks power as they can't change conditions where bail has previously been granted.
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Cases for trial in crown court
- Triable-either-way offences - There will be further hearings at magistrates court and the defendant will be asked what he pleads. If he pleads not guilty a decision must be made of whether the case will be tried in crown or magistrates.
- Indictable offences - All indictable offences are sent to the crown court however EAH will happen in the magistrates court first and then all other pre trial matters will be dealt with in the crown court.
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Police powers to grant bail
- Police may release a suspect or a person charged with an offence on bail while they make further enquiries. In this case the defendant will have to appear before the magistrates at a set date.
- The decision to grant bail is made by the custody officer under S3 of PACE.
- This can be refused if the defendants name and address can't be discovered or there is doubt they arent genuine.
- The priciples for bail are set out in the Bail Act 1976.
- The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 gave police the power to impose conditions on bail including surrendering passpoert, report regularly to the station, a surety etc. to ensure the suspect surrenders to bail and doesnt commit further offences or pervert the course of justice.
- After charging a defendant police can decide to not grant bail and must bring the defendant before a magistrate as soon as possible for a final decision.
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The Bail Act 1976
- To grant no bail the court must believe that the defendant would fail to surrender to custody, commit an offence on bail or interfere with witnesses etc.
- Factors considered when granting bail are the nature and seriousness of the offence, the character and community ties of the defendant, the defendants records and the strength of the evidence.
- After one application only one further applicaton can usually be made to magistrates unless there is a change in circumstance.
- The restrictions on bail are: Repeat of serious offences, Offence committed while on bail and restrictions on adult drug users
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Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
- The Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure thought it was better to have an independent agency to review and conduct prosecutions, leading to the CPS being established.
- The head of the CPS must have been a qualified lawyer for at least 10 years.
- The DPP is appointed and supervised bu the Attorney-General.
- The fuctions of the CPS: Deciding on what an offence should be charged, Reviewing all cases passed to them by police, Being responsible for a case once recieved, Conducting the prosecution of cases in magistrates court and Conducting cases in the Crown court.
- The CPS must review all cases to see if prosecution can take place.
- The Evidential Test - Seeing if there is sufficient evidence to provide a conviction excluding any inadmissable evidence.
- The Public Interest Test - A second test to see if its in public interest to continue the case considering many factors from non-exhaustive lists from the Code Of Practice.
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