If your case is sent to the Crown Court, either because you have elected trial in the Crown Court or the Magistrates have directed that the case is sent for a trial in the Crown Court then the first hearing will be the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH).
At the PTPH, you will be expected to enter either a plea of guilty or not guilty. You will be advised accordingly depending on the instructions you provide and the evidence against you.
Anyone who pleads guilty to a criminal offence will be given credit for an early guilty plea. How much credit will depend on when the guilty plea was entered. More credit is given, the earlier the plea is entered.
If you plead not guilty and get found guilty by a Jury, then you will not receive any credit.
Should you plead guilty, the matter would progress towards sentencing. In the event you plead not guilty, the matter progresses towards case management.
The PTPH is an opportunity for the Court to set a trial date once a not guilty plea is entered. The Court at this stage will set a timetable for certain stages to be completed to ensure the smooth running of your trial. These stages are known as the Stage Dates and are generally as follows:
Stage 1 Prosecution to serve their case and any applications for Bad Character/Hearsay evidence.
Stage 2 The Defendant to submit a Defence Case statement (DCS)/ Serve any expert evidence relied on.
Stage 3 The Prosecution to respond to the DCS and provide further disclosure.
Stage 4 Application for witness summons for third party disclosure/Trial readiness certificate/Defence respond to any applications served by the Prosecution.
The Court may also make directions in relation to expert evidence or in relation to any vulnerable complainants/witnesses or defendants.
The Court will be provided with details of the witnesses required on behalf of the Prosecution and the Defence and consequently the matter would be listed for trial. Depending on the nature of the case, the trial will be listed as a fixture, meaning that you would be given a fixed date for the trial, or be placed into the warned list. This means that the case is put into a two week list and we are only advised by the Court the day before as to whether the case will be heard the following day.
At Darton Law we can provide you with expert legal advice and representation at all stages of the Crown Court process.
In terms of bail, the Court will consider the issue of bail at every hearing. However, if you attend Court on either conditional or unconditional bail, if there are no breaches of your bail or any further incidents, it is likely you will remain on conditional or unconditional bail.
In instances where you have been kept in custody, you have two opportunities to make a bail application. Once in the Magistrates Court (except for serious offences such as Murder) and once in the Crown Court. Unless there is a change of circumstances, no further bail applications can be made on your behalf after the second application.
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