You must know section 52a of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998
Must know the difference between summary, either-way and indictable only offences in the magistrates court.
Procedure in either-way cases – there is an indication of plea hearing (plea before-venue) and mode of trial procedure (now known as allocation procedure)
Difference between indication of plea and formal plea.
Difference between ‘sending for trial’ and committal sentence.
EITHER WAY CASES – In English criminal law a hybrid offence is called a “triable-either–way offence” and can be heard at either the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court. The decision as to which court will hear the case is determined at a Mode of Trial hearing.
PLEA BEFORE VENUE – The Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 sections 17A- 17C 2, deals with the “plea before venue” procedure. 4. A defendant charged with an either way offence can plead guilty and be sentenced in the magistrates’ court, unless there is a committal to the Crown Court for sentence.
SENDING FOR TRIAL – In committal proceedings and transfers for trial, a case should not be committed or transferred unless you are satisfied that the criteria for prosecution contained in the Code for Crown Prosecutors have been met.
INDICATION OF PLEA –
FORMAL PLEA –
Crime & Disorder Act 1998 Section 52A reporting restrictions. These are AUTOMATIC restrictions which cover any case retaining potential jury trial.
Includes preliminary hearings at magistrates – including bail applications and hearings for ‘plea before-venue’ ‘mode of trial’ and ‘sending for trial’ procedures – in cases which retain potential for jury trial.
Automatic restrictions – unless lifted – for preliminary hearings for all indictable-only cases and some either-way cases. Includes any reference to evidence, any previous convictions, any other material with the potential to create prejudice.
You need t know what you CAN and what you CAN’T publish under these restrictions.
WHAT IS OK
- The name of the court
- The name, age, home address and occupation of the accused
- The charges in full or summarised
- The names of the counsel and solicitors engaged in the proceedings
- If proceedings are adjourned, the date and place to which they are adjourned
- Arrangements as to bail – whether bail was granted or refused and any conditions and surety arrangement.
WHAT YOU CAN’T SAY
- This includes
- Any reference to the case
- A defendant’s previous convictions
- Any other material with potential to create prejudice such as reasons for refusal of bail
- The concern is that people who read or hear information given at preliminary hearings may include some who months later will be called to be jurors in these cases
- Defendant can ask for them to be lifted
- Automatically cease to apply if and when, for either way charge, it becomes clear the defendant will be tried summarily
- Magistrates decide there is insufficient evidence to commit to them for Crown Court trial
- Automatically expire when the proceedings against all defendants in the case have been concluded