A summons is a document sent by a post to the accused person. It tells them they must attend at court on a certain date given in the letter. This is used in most Summary offences.
For more serious offences the suspected person will be arrested. The police will investigate by interviewing witness and the suspect.
After the suspect has been charged the police may decide to allow them bail. This means the police tell the accused that they can go free but must attend magistrates' Court on a certain date. Bail can also hold some conditions.
The Crown Prosecution Service
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for prosecuting most cases in the criminal courts. Some CPS staff work with the police to advise them in early stages of cases.
Code for Crown Prosecution
The Code for Crown Prosecutors are to help them to decide whether to prosecute of not. The two Codes are the Evidence Code(is there a realistic prospect of conviction) and whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.
While a suspect is being held by the police at a police station he or she has the right to consult a lawyer. Most suspects will consult a Duty Solicitor.
Types of Offences
Summary Offences (Minor Crimes)
Offences triable either way (Middle-Range Crimes)
Indictable Offences (Serious Crimes)
Court/Examples of Summary Offences
Summary Offences - Magistrates' Court - Driving without a insurance, Common Assault, Taking a vehicle without consent.
Court/Example of Triable either way Offences
Triable either way Offences - Magistrates' Court or Crown Court -Theft, Assault causing actual bodily harm
The Magistrates' Role
1.They decide if a defendant is guilty or not guilty.
2.If they find the defendant guilty they decide on sentence.
*Custody (sending the defendant to prison(A Magistrate can sentence to up to 6 months for 1 offence and 12 months for 2 or more. )
*A community Order (unpaid work, Rehabilitation, Supervision requirement)
*A Fine (Up to 5,000 pounds for a fine in Magistrates' Court)
The defendant has a right to appeal against both conviction/sentence. They can appeal in either the High Court Administrative Court or Crown Court.
The Crown Court
The Crown Court hears indictable criminal cases as well as any triable either way cases that are sent from the Magistrates Court.
Before the trial
The defendant will be asked does he plea guilty or not guilty.The judge will give instructions on witnesses and evidence.
The trial that is held with a Judge and jury. The judge makes decisions on the point of law. Th prosecution call their evidence first. All prosecution witness's can be cross-examined by the defense.
Role of the jury
The jury will consist of 12 people. Their role is to decide the verdict (Guilty or not Guilty).