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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 2326

Pre Trial Procedure in Criminal Cases

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Pre Trial Procedure in Criminal Cases Chapter 9 9.1 Pre Trial Hearing * All criminal cases go first to Magistrates. * Minor offences can be dealt with if: o Plead guilty. o Is present/do not want legal representation. * Most driving offences pleaded by post. 9.1.1 Categories of Offences * Type of offence affects number of pre trial hearings. * Criminal offences divided into three main categories: 1. Summary Offences a. Least serious b. Always tried in magistrates c. Nearly all driving offences / Common assault / Criminal damage up to �5,000 2. Trialable Either way Offences a. Middle range of crime. b. Theft / Assault / ABH. c. Tried either in magistrates of crown court. 3. Indictable Offences a. Most serious crimes. b. Murder / Manslaughter / Rape. c. Must be tried in Crown Court. d. First hearing held in Magistrates. Plea before venue * First stage in deciding where a trial either way offence is held is called a plea before venue. * Defendant asked guilty / not guilty. If pleads guilty automatically heard in magistrates but can be sent to Crown for sentencing. Mode of Trial * Where defendant pleads not guilty decision has to be made: crown / magistrates. * This is called a mode of trial procedure. * Even if going to crown, pre trial matters still dealt with in magistrates. ...read more.


However, under section 25 of the criminal justice and public order act 1994 as amended, someone charged with murder, rape, manslaughter or attempted murder or rape, who has previously been convicted and imprisoned or found not guilty through insanity shall automatically be granted bail, unless special circumstances. * Under section 26 of the CJPOA s person accused of committing a crime whilst on bail is not presumptively entitled to bail. Unless thought appropriate by the court. In making it's decision a court may legitimately be influenced by any of the factors listed in schedule 1 of the bail act 1976. These include: * Nature of offence. * Likely result of conviction * Strength of evidence * Defendant's character * Antecedents * Community ties Bail may be granted unconditionally or on such considers that appear necessary to ensure defendant: * Surrenders to bail * Commits no further offences * Does not interfere with witnesses or evidence * Is available as necessary for the purposes of the court Such conditions include: * Surrender passport * Do not seen certain people or places * Live at certain address * Report regularly to police Defendant can appeal against unfair bail conditions but this is rarely exercised. 80% of cases at the high court are given bail. 90% of those remanded for summarily trial are given bail. ...read more.


* Changes of 2000 means CPS must notify victims of any change which makes significant differences to case. Civil Actions * Sometimes civil cases are brought if CPS drop them or they pick them up. * Case: 1998 family of doctor Joan Francisco, murdered, took boyfriend to civil court. he was found guilty. The CPS investigated and found a technique not thought of first time and took him to court. he was jailed six years after crime. 3.4 The Glidewell Report * Because of problems of CPS sir Iain Glidewell asked to conduct enquiry. Pblished 1998. * Main problem was judge-ordered acquittals which made up 20% of all acquittals. In one in five of these there was something wrong with preparation of case. * Also found CPS was too bureaucratic and centralized. So divided into 42 not 13. Criminal Justice Units * Narey report into delay in criminal justice system suggested CPS locate in police stations to prevent delay in cases being passed during late 90's pilot schemes found it impractical to have CPS in every station so they were assigned to criminal justice units or administrative support units. Results of pilot showed it prevented delay and better working practices between police and CPS with greater continuance of cases. 7% of cases in pilot area where discontinued, 12% in other areas. Thought to be as CPS could advise police at early stage of cases. By march 2001 20 criminal justice units had been established with another 36 planned for 2002. ...read more.

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