To understand what is included within the Mode of Trial
Mode of Trial Where a person is charged with a triable-either-way offence, they can insist on a trial by jury, otherwise the decision is for the magistrates. In reaching this decision the magistrates will take into account:
Mode of Trial Guilty Plea - the court proceeds to sentence or commit to the Crown Court for sentence. Not Guilty Plea (or fails to indicate) – the court decides the mode of trial
Mode of Trial Criminal Justice Act 2003, Sched. 3 has made changes to the mode of trial procedures. When deciding if the case should stay in the magistrates court, they will be informed of the defendant’s previous convictions. If they decide summary trial is appropriate, defendants will have the right to ask for an indication of sentence on plea of guilty before deciding which court to choose.
Mode of Trial Committal for sentence has been abolished for less serious either way cases. Magistrates sentencing powers have been increased from 6 to 12 months, in the hope they will send less cases to the Crown Court.
Mode of Trial Plea and Case Management Hearings Introduced by the new Criminal Procedure Rules in 2005. Aim – to encourage early preparation of cases before trial, with a view to reducing the number of “cracked” trials. Normally held in open court with the defendants present, who are required to plead guilty or not guilty. This is known as “arraignment”.
Mode of Trial Plea and Case Management Hearings If the defendants plead guilty, the judge will proceed to sentence the defendants whenever possible. Where they plead not guilty the prosecution and defence will have to identify the key issues, and provide any additional information required to organise the actual trial. Including:
Mode of Trial Disclosure Prosecution and Defence must reveal information related to the case prior to the trial. Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 – defence has an obligation to disclose all its evidence to the prosecution. They must:
Give prosecution the names and addresses of all the witnesses they intend to call
Name of any expert witness they have consulted
Mode of Trial Disclosure The prosecution is under a continuing duty to disclose material that might reasonably be considered capable of undermining its case or assisting the defence case. Should this be the case? What could be the problems?
Mode of Trial Professor Lee Bridges Inappropriate use of Crown Court Magistrates have continued to send between 10% and 12% of either way cases to the Crown Court either for trial or sentence, throughout the past decade, despite the introduction of reforms such as "plea before venue". The magistrates use of custody has expanded nearly three-fold over the same period and they are now responsible for sending more people to prison each year than the Crown Court. The majority of cases sent to the Crown Court receive a sentence which the Magistrates could have given. This shows they thought they deserved a higher sentence.
Group Work In your group consider the following: (Give reasons for your answers) If you were charged with burglary, an either way offence, what type of trial would you prefer? Would you want your case to be heard by a professional judge and jury in the crown court or by the magistrate’s court?
Plea Bargaining This is the name given to negotiations between the prosecution and the defence lawyers over the outcome of a case. To be effective it requires the active cooperation of the judge, however: R v Turner (1970) Judges were not allowed to get involved in plea bargaining in the UK. That case effectively banned judges from indicating what sentence they would give if a defendant pleaded guilty. This case was not always followed in practice. R v Goodyear (2005) This case removed the ban. Defendants can now request in writing an indication from the judge of their likely sentence if they plead guilty. This indication is binding – cannot give a higher sentence.
Plea Bargaining Is plea bargaining is in the interests of justice?
Trial Procedure The Burden of Proof is on the Prosecution – they must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty. Defendants should normally be present at the trial, though the trial can proceed without them if they have chosen to abscond. A lawyer should usually represent them in their absence. (R v Jones 2002)
Trial Procedure The trial begins with the prosecution outlining the case against the accused, and then producing evidence to prove its case. The prosecution calls its witnesses, who will give their evidence in response to questions from the prosecution (called examination-in-chief), then if required, re-examined by the prosecution to address any points brought up in cross-examination.
Trial Procedure When the prosecution has presented all its evidence, the defence can submit that there is no case to answer, which means that on the prosecution evidence, no reasonable jury (or bench of magistrates) could convict. If the submission is successful, a verdict of not guilty will be given straight away. If no such submission is made, or if the submission is unsuccessful, the defence then puts forward its case, using the same procedure for examining witnesses as the prosecution did.
Trial Procedure Evidence of bad character and previous convictions. Following the passing of ss. 101-103 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, evidence of past convictions will be more widely available. R v Hanson (2005) The Court of Appeal stated that the legislation required the consideration of three questions, namely: Did the defendant’s history of offending show a propensity to commit offences? Did that propensity make it more likely the defendant committed the current offence? And Is it just to rely on conviction of the same description or category having in mind the overriding principle that proceedings must be fair?
Mock Trial We will be considering the case of Max Hasty. Look at the case study and complete the work allocated to your role. You will be in pre-assigned groups. Prosecution – build your case against Max, is there anyone else you would want to talk to, what evidence can you use? Defence – build your case to help Max, are there any points of law which worry you, is there anyone else you would want to talk to?
Mock Trial - Groupings Prosecution 1. Jemma, Luke D 2. Jenni, Matthew B, Amy 3. Chloe, Kirsty, Matthew W 4. Dhiraj, Anisha, Jade Defence 1. Scott, Nickii 2. Taj, Vicki, Alicia 3. Alex, Jamila, Leighton 4. Natalie, Sherrydon, Luke M