The Court Process
1. Give us your Instructions – we will need to take your detailed instructions in relation to all of the witness statements that are relied upon by the Prosecution. We will need your instructions in relation to all aspects of your defence.
2. Advise upon trial venue – Magistrates Court v Crown Court.
- Less delay
- Less intimidating
- Less sentencing powers
- In event of a conviction, no power to award defence costs
- Trial by judge and jury
- Representation by barrister
- For complex issues of fact or law
- Dealing with complex issues
3. Advice upon plea – Guilty or Not Guilty?
The Prosecution must prove its case against you. It is not for you to prove your innocence. It will be our responsibility to obtain as much information as possible about the Prosecution evidence and to advise you about the strength of that evidence or otherwise, and upon all aspects of your case before advising you as to the appropriate plea. You will then be asked by the court whether you wish to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’.
Early Guilty Plea
All Solicitors are required to advise their clients that credit is given for an early ‘guilty’ plea. That is to say that if you plead ‘guilty’ at the earliest opportunity, then the sentence passed will be reduced by up to one third from the sentence that would be imposed either in the event of pleading ‘guilty’ at a later stage or pleading ‘not guilty’ but being found ‘guilty’. Maximum credit is obtained if a ‘guilty’ plea is entered at the earliest possible opportunity.
Not Guilty Plea
You should plead ‘not guilty’ to something that you have not done. You should only plead ‘guilty’ if you believe, following our advice, that you are ‘guilty’.
If a plea of ‘not guilty’ is entered to a ‘Summary Only’ offence, then the case will be adjourned for trial in the Magistrates Court.
If a plea of ‘not guilty’ is entered to an ‘Either Way’ offence, the Magistrates dealing with your case will hear representations from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Defence Solicitor about whether the trial should be dealt with in the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.
If a plea of ‘guilty’ is entered, the case will then proceed to sentence and the Magistrates will decide whether sentencing powers are sufficient to deal with the case in the Magistrates Court or whether they should commit the case to the Crown Court, where a Judge’s sentencing powers are greater.