Criminal Law - Procedure Qs



Intro - If the defendant is granted bail then he will remain at liberty until the next stage of his case. There is a general right to bail under s.4 of the Bail Act 1976.

Who - Bail can be granted by the police under s.38 of PACE or by the Magistrates/Judge in Court under the Bail Act 1976

Grounds for Refusal - Under the Bail Act 1976 it is presumed that everyone will be granted bail unless there are substantial grounds for believing:

  • They may fail to turn up at next court appearance
  • They're likely to commit another offence
  • They may interfere with witnesses/victim
  • They're a danger to themselves or others

Factors - The courts will consider certain factors;

  • Previous good character, past record (antecedents)
  • Community ties (family, stable home, job etc)
  • Previous good bail performance
  • Strength of the evidence

Type of bail - The court can grant the defendant conditional or unconditional bail.

If they grant the defendant conditional bail, they will impose conditions e.g. a curfew, electronic tag, surrender of passport, report to the police station, or stay at another address/away from victim.

They may also ask for a suriety, which is money for bail.

Pre-Trial Procedure

Summary Offence - S.39 Assauly/Battery

If the defendant is charged with a summary offence (assault/battery) they will have their trial at the Magistrates Court and they will sentence them if guilty.

An Early Administration Hearing (EAH) will take place to hear the defendant's plea and decide Bail, under the Bail Act 1976, legal funding, and legal representation.

If the defendant pleads guilty the Magistrates may adjourn for pre-sentence reports and the Magistrates may also wish to see medical and finance reports.

Triable Either Way Offence - ABH/S.20 GBH

The Defendant's first hearing will be the Magistrates Court at an EAH to address issues such as bail, legal funding, and legal representation.

There will then be a Plea Before Venue hearing at the Magistrates; if they plead guilty the Magistrates will have to decide whether they have sufficient powers to sentence - they will consider the severity of the attack and the complexity of the case. If they feel that the case will exceed their 6 month maximum sentence then they will transfer the case to the Crown Court.

If the defendant pleads not guilty there will be a Mode of Trial hearing to decide where the trial will be heard. The Magistrates decide first if they wish to accept jurisdiction or decline jurisdiction. If they accept then the defendant will have the choice of where he wishes his trial to be heard; either in the Magistrates or by a jury at the Crown.

Indictable Offences - S.18 GBH

The defendant's first hearing will be at the Magistrates Court at an EAH where issues such as bail, legal funding, and legal representation will be addressed.

As these…


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