The accused person who pleads guilty is not yet convicted of the offence until he is formally convicted by the Court. On a plea of guilty, the brief facts of the case on which the accused is to be convicted will be read in open court. If the accused agrees with the brief facts, then the Court will formally convict him unless the Court is not satisfied that the agreed brief facts show the commission of the offence.
Where the accused does not agree with the prosecution's brief facts or part of them , the Court will hear evidence from the prosecution and the accused to decide the facts. After the Court has made a decision on the facts, it will formally convict the accused unless the Court is not satisfied that the decided facts show the commission of the offence.
Gbagbo: Is there a case to answer?
Upon conviction, the prosecution will inform the Court the relevant background of the accused person in particular whether he has any previous criminal records. The Court will then allow the accused person or his lawyer to tell the Court matters which may persuade the Court to impose a more lenient sentence.
This process is called a plea in mitigation. The Court may then pass a sentence i.
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On a plea of not guilty, the case will be adjourned for trial. A number of procedures may take place before the trial e. Well in advance of the trial, the prosecution must provide the accused person or his lawyer with all documents and materials which are or possibly relevant to the case, whether they are for or against the prosecution's case. In general, these materials include all the written statements and criminal records of the prosecution witnesses; all written statements given by other persons to the law enforcement agencies whom the prosecution does not intend to call as a witness at the trial; all materials which the prosecution intends to rely on at the trial; and all materials which the prosecution does not intend to use but which may assist the accused in his defence.
Legal Terms Glossary | USAO | Department of Justice
The prosecution however has no duty to disclose materials which only affect the credibility of a defence witness e. Immigration records which show that a defence witness was in Macau at the time when he said he met the accused person in Hong Kong. Any failure by the prosecution to provide the accused with the relevant materials before trial may be a valid ground of appeal against any conviction.
The prosecutor will call witnesses one by one to give evidence to establish the offence. Each witness will first be questioned by the prosecutor examination-in-chief by the prosecution.
No case to answer – submissions at ‘half time’
The witness will then be questioned by the accused or his lawyer cross-examination by the defence. If necessary, that witness may be re-examined by the prosecutor afterwards. After all the prosecution witnesses have given evidence, the prosecution closes its case. The defence may then make a submission of "no case to answer" , which is an argument that the prosecution's evidence is insufficient to make out a prima facie case. If this submission is accepted by the Court, the accused is acquitted. The accused may then apply to the Court to recover his legal costs from the prosecution.
If the Court finds that there is a "case to answer" i. The accused can:. The accused person usually needs to decide whether or not to give evidence personally before any defence witness is called. This is because the accused is generally required to testify before other defence witnesses.
3. I will attend a court hearing soon. What is the procedure during a criminal hearing?
Where witnesses are called by the defence, the defence witnesses are examined in chief by the defence. They may then be cross-examined by the prosecution, and may be re-examined by the defence. After all the defence witnesses have given their evidence, the defence closes its case. Other than those witnesses called by the prosecution or the defence, the Court has the discretion to order that someone must be called as an additional witness. However, this discretion is rarely exercised.
The trial will then proceed to the closing speeches by both the prosecution and the defence, although the prosecution often does not make a closing speech after which the Court will deliver its verdict i. The Court will either convict or acquit the accused and give reasons for its decision. In general, the reasons given by the Magistrate will be rather brief at this stage. The Magistrate will provide fuller reasons with more detailed analysis at a later stage if the accused appeals against the conviction.
These arguments are complex in their nature and not suitable for every case, but making them successfully can be highly beneficial to the person standing trial, as we are all too aware of the anxiety and stress that can be placed upon defendants when faced with the possibility of giving evidence at trial.
When could there be no case to answer?
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