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Reforms to criminal justice systems

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Introduction

Reforms to criminal justice systems The Government published the Auld report on the 8th October 2001. This was a huge report, which basically reviewed the criminal courts system. Sir Robin Auld (a senior Appeal court judge) conducted this review. The review was acknowledged by the government as being a vital contributor towards establishing modern, efficient criminal courts (e.g. fewer delays in them etc.). Auld's key recommendations include: * Unified criminal courts, replacing the Crown and Magistrates courts, and consisting of 3 divisions. The Crown Division (which is effectively the Crown Court as we know it) would exercise jurisdiction over all indictable-only matters and the more serious either-way offences. The District Division, presided over by a District Judge or Recorder and at least 2 magistrates, would exercise jurisdiction over a mid-range of either-way matters of sufficient seriousness to merit up to 2 years custody. The Magistrates Division, constituted by a District Judge or Magistrate, which is more or less the Magistrates Courts as we know them, would deal with all summary matters as presently defined and less serious either-way cases. Controversially, the courts in the Magistrates Division would allocate all either-way cases according to the seriousness of the alleged offence and the circumstances of the defendant. ...read more.

Middle

They will do this by: detecting more crime, getting all defendants to court quickly, prevent affending on bail, to convict more of the guilty, improve trial and keep the dangerous in custody. To detect more crime they decided to increase police numbers, police spending, encourage specialist skills, do more 'front line' work and get better technology for detection. To get more defendants to court more quickly they will allow Crown Prosecution Service to take more responsibility for determining charges so that the right cases go to court on the right charges, invest �600 million to manage cases, give sentence indication (idea- early guilty pleas) and give magistrates greater sentencing powers. To prevent offending on bail they will take into account previous convictions, area where defendant lives and seriousness of offence before granting bail (especially with no conditions on it). To convict more of the guilty they will improve disclosure, allow trial by judge alone (especially where jury can feel intimidated), extend the availability of preparatory hearings to ensure that serious cases like, drug trafficking, can be properly prepared. At the trial they will inform the court of a defendant's previous convictions (where appropriate), remove the double jeopardy rule for serious cases if compelling new evidence comes to light and increase population eligible for jury service. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are to be performance indicators of race equality, reviews by police forces of the racism awareness training every three years, stop and search powers research, recruitment of ethnic minority police officers, the racial discrimination legislation extended into all services and will also make chief police officers liable for racial discrimination by their officers. Police corruption This basically looks at the idea of criminals being able to somehow (usually through money) corrupt a police officer. Sir Paul Condon has made anti-corruption a touchstone of his term as commissioner of the metropolitan police. He estimated that there was up to 250 corrupt officers in his force. Special squads need to be set up, like New Scotland Yard, who concentrate on corrupt police officers, so police officers too can be convicted of corruption-related offences or suspended for alleged corruption or similar matters. A corroboration rule? This is the idea that confession should be backed up with other evidence, as there can be false confessions. McConville said only 8% of persecutions would be affected by automatic acquittals (only in smaller cases) and it would be a small price to pay to avoid further miscarriages of justice. If we look back at the case of Michael Stone in 1998, we can see that confession evidence does not necessarily do justice. ...read more.

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