Magistrate Courts

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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. When the defendant pleads guilty, a resume containing all facts of the case will be prepared and confirmed by the defendant. A Newton Hearing will commence if facts are wrong. The magistrate will then consider defendants mitigating and aggravating factors such as previous conviction or presentence reports, medical reports.

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If the defendant chooses to plead not guilty, both sides will present their case. The prosecution will begin with a speech and calling of witnesses to give evidence. 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 ...

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