Criminal Appeals Route
The Criminal Justice System is in place to punish on behalf of the Crown those who commit crimes and to ultimately instill public confidence that law and order is being maintained and to act as a deterrent to those who may commit crimes. All criminal cases are classified as either summary (e.g. road traffic offences), indictable (murder) or triable either way (theft). The category the offence falls into will determine where it is heard at first instance. Summary offences are usually considered to be less serious offences and are often heard in the Magistrates Court. Indictable offences are regarded as being more serious and are usually heard in the Magistrates' court for a committal hearing. The offence may then be committed for trial before a judge in a higher court such as the Crown Court. Following a trial in the Magistrates Court there are two routes of appeal open to a defendant, depending on the basis they want to appeal. If they wish to appeal against conviction or sentence, thy must appeal to the Crown Court. The automatic right of appeal is open to the defendant only. If the defendant wishes to appeal by case stated they must appeal to the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) in the High Court. This method can be used by the defence against a conviction, or by the prosecution if the defendant has been acquitted. This appeal route is based on the fact that a mistake has been made in the application of the law, it is not used very often. A further appeal from the High Court is available to the Supreme Court, this will only happen when the matter is one of public importance. This happened in the case of C v DPP (1994, where the issue of children having criminal responsibility was considered. It was held in this case that it is not the be presumed that children between 10 and 14 know the difference between right and wrong, and therefore criminal activity will not always result in prosecution. The Divisional...
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