Criminal Procedure Rules are laid down to deal with all aspects of criminal cases.
The prosecution can appeal against an acquittal by making an application to the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996. They cannot appeal against a finding of not guilty by the jury unless the acquittal was the result of jury or witness being nobbled. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 removes the ‘double jeopardy’ rule for serious cases where new and compelling evidence found. Ex: able to test DNA today.
The Attorney General can refer to a point of law to get a ruling on the law but will only create precedent which does not affect the acquittal. Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1998 places a duty on both sides to make certain points known to the other. Under Criminal Justice Act 2003, defence have to reveal all evidence, points of law, information about witnesses they intend to raise. Prosecution have to disclose material that may undermine defence case to prevent miscarriage of justice.
Plea and Case Management Hearings
Encourage early preparation of cases and reduced the number of cracked trials. Defendants are required to plead guilty or not guilty. If they plead not guilty, key issues will be identified and additional information required to organize the actual trial will be provided.
Large number of miscarriage of justice lead to demands for a review body. House Secretary has the power to review cases and refer them to Court of Appeal but they are not independent of the government.
Runciman commission recommended that an independent body should be set up to consider possible miscarriages of justice and this is implemented by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 which set up the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The Commission has the power to investigate possible miscarriage of justice and refer cases back to courts.
Committee is appointed by the Queen and the main cases are brought to its attention by defendant themselves or their families though some have been referred by the Court of Appeal.