263 Woodpecker Road
Islington , Tamworth
69 Rocky Lane
Northfield , Birmingham
Dear Mr Smith,
I am writing to you regarding your upcoming case for theft which you are currently on bail for. I know at the moment you are unsure on whether you should elect for the trial to be in the Magistrates Court or Crown Court.
You have the decision in which court you would like your case heard. I'll explain the options that you can go through in this letter and then you can decide.
Cases involving theft are treated as either way offences this means you can have the option to have your case heard in either the Magistrates or Crown court. In the Crown ...view middle of the document...
The judge must also check that the Jurors are available for the trial if it were to be a long trial.
Those who sit on the Jury also go through a Vetting process which is to check they are suitable to sit on the Jury. Usually a routine police check is made and sometimes wider background checks are carried out. Once the Jurors are knows for the case the prosecutor and defendant have the right to see the list. The process of challenging a Juror can be either where challenging an individual juror. There must be a valid reason why they shouldn’t not be on the jury for example disqualifications which I explained earlier in the letter or if they know a witness or defendant. The prosecution only has the right to stand by jurors. It allows a juror that has been stood by to be put to the end of the list of potential jurors and will only be used if there are not enough jury members. The Jurors will be called and their names read out by the court clerk as each juror comes into the Jury box to be sworn. They can make notes during the trial to help make their decision. The Jury after hearing the case will retire to the Jury room where all 12 people will decide guilty or not guilty. Ten or Eleven votes is called a majority verdict.
Now when deciding whether to have a trial with a Jury there is a few things you should think about the arguments for and against.
Arguments for Juries - Maintains public confidence, a fair trial, can reduce the harshness of the law, Juries can get the verdict 'right' and the Jury can also be good judges of the facts.
Arguments against Juries - Can be influenced by the media, may not be able to understand complex issues, can get verdict wrong, may not understand the burden of proof in the trial, trials are lengthy and expensive and they tend to acquit more than magistrates.
If you were to take your case to the Magistrates Court it would be dealt with by Lay Magistrates. Magistrates work for free and have at least 26 days of service in court plus training and preparation each year. Anyone between the age of 18-65 can be appointed. Magistrates can also be known as Justice of Peace. There are 30,000 magistrates and sit in threes mostly in criminal cases. Magistrates are recruited and selected by a network of 47 local advisory committees made up of serving magistrates and local non-magistrates.
Magistrates are also legally entitled to time...