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Magistrate Courts

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Introduction

´╗┐Magistrate Court The Jurisdiction of Magistrate Court is deal with summary offences which are of minor crimes, try triable either way cases which it is decided should be dealt in Magistrate Court and preliminary hearings in indictable cases. They also deal with side matters such as bail application and issuing warrant for arrest. zlIn summary trials, magistrate court can impose a maximum of 5000 pounds and 6 month imprisonment. However, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 sought to increase this to 12 months as to decrease the number of cases sent to Crown Court.z At the start of the case, a clerk will check the defendants name and address as well as their plea of guilty. ...read more.

Middle

The witnesses will then be examined and cross examined by both prosecution and defence. Relevant exhibits may be given. The defendant will then be called to give evidence, this is not obligatory but failure to do so may lead to magistrate drawing conclusions. If magistrate decide to convict, past records and mitigation will be considered. If not, the defendant is free to go unless prosecution appeals against acquittal. In the triable either way cases, the trial may begin by a Plea Before Venue procedure where the defendant is asked whether they are guilty or not. If they are, they have no right to go to Crown Court or have a trial by jury whereas if they plead not guilty, magistrates may decide if the magistrate court is suitable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Magistrates may send cases to Crown Court under s.51 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This reduced the number of hearings in Magistrate Court as magistrates would only need to provide defendant with statement of evidence against them, notice of offence charged and place of trial before sending to Crown Court for trial. Committal for Sentence is used where the defendant have been convicted or pleaded guilty, and magistrates considers penalty options inadequate, they are referred to the Crown Court for sentencing. This is abolished for less serious either way cases and magistrates powers of 6 months imprisonment has been increased to reduce number of cases sent to Crown Court This is abolished for less serious either way cases and magistrates powers of 6 months imprisonment has been increased to reduce number of cases sent to Crown Court.zl ...read more.

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