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Pcmh, Ph And Pleas Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Pcmh, Ph And Pleas notes – written by City Law School students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Arraignment

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Arraignment usually takes place at the Plea and Case Management Hearing ("PCMH")

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Defendant brought into Dock
* if anticipated will plead Not Guilty to all counts - people from whom jury will be selected may be allowed to sit at back of court to hear
* if any possibility will plead Not Guilty to one count and Guilty to another - jury should be kept out

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Clerk will read charges to Defendant
* ie. [Defendant] You are charged on indictment on...counts. The first count charges you
[Defendant] with....contrary to.....The particulars of the offence are that...., do you plead guilty or not guilty?

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If Defendant intending to plead Guilty to one of alternative counts, advisable to tell Court in advance, so Guilty count can be put to him first.

Not Guilty Plea & Offering No Evidence/Leaving Counts on File

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Not Guilty plea - should be made by Defendant personally (not rep)

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Puts entire Prosecution case in issue and requires Prosecution to negative any case put forward by Defendant.

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Next step: empanel the jury

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Unless Prosecution does not wish to proceed on counts Defendant pleaded Not Guilty to.

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Prosecution may:
* tell Judge he proposes to offer no evidence on a count - Judge then order that a verdict of Not Guilty be entered (equivalent to acquittal)
* ask that the counts be left on file marked not to be proceeded with without leave of Crown Court or Court of Appeal

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Offer no evidence: When Prosecution think Defendant ought not to be convicted of offence (eg. on evidence discovered since sent to Crown Court)

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Leave on file: Where Prosecution choose not to proceed with Not Guilty-plea charges as waste of time/money in light of Guilty-plea charges.
* Prevents Defendant actually being acquitted of offence.
* If Court of Appeal subsequently set aside convictions on Guilty-plea counts, may give Prosecution leave to proceed with counts left on file.

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Where Prosecution and Defendant cannot agree on what to do with Not Guilty-counts (and Prosecution do not wish to prosecute them), Trial Judge decides whether to acquit or leave on file.

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No appeal from order that charge should lie on file.

Guilty Plea

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If Defendant pleads Guilty - Judge should proceed to sentence wherever possible.

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Guilty Plea must be made by Defendant personally

* if made by rep - plea is a nullity

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Court then:
* proceeds straight to sentence (wherever possible), or
* adjourns for preparation of reports.

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If Guilty-plea to one count and Not Guilty-pleas to other counts, postpone sentencing until Not Guilty-plea counts determined.

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If Guilty-plea and Co-Defendant pleads Not Guilty - adjourn case of Guilty-plea to be sentenced after trial of Co-Defendant

Plea of "autrefois acquit" and "autrefois convict"

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If Defendant contends that he has already been acquitted/convicted of the offence, can plead "autrefois"

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If raised successfully, this is a bar to all further proceedings on that count.

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Plea made in writing, signed by Defence advocate on Defendant's behalf.

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If Defendant unrepresented, can make plea orally.

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Plea should be made at arraignment, but court has discretion to allow at any point in trial.

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If Prosecution do not accept plea - "join issue" through a written "replication"

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CJA 1988 - Where Defendant pleads autrefois - it is for the judge to decide the issue.

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If plea fails, indictment proceeds in normal way and Defendant's right to plead Guilty or Not Guilty is unaffected.

Plea of Pardon

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Pardons - exercise of RP, granted by R, on advice of Home Secretary

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Effect: Defendant freed from consequences which would normally result from crime he allegedly committed.

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Now, only granted after conviction and sentence where normal appeals exhausted or probably would have been unsuccessful.

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Pardon does not affect conviction but all adverse consequences flowing from it are removed.

Equivocal Pleas Rule: Plea by Defendant must be "unequivocal" - clear and unambiguous If Guilty plea, Court may convict Defendant without hearing evidence if "satisfied plea represents a clear acknowledgement of guilt" (Crim PR, r37.7) 3 situations where plea may be regarded as "equivocal":

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When pleading Guilty - Defendant immediately qualifies plea with words which amount to a defence

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Ms should explain law to Defendant, then ask to plead again
* if Ms do not enquire, Defendant may challenge validity on appeal

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If plea still equivocal - record plea as Not Guilty

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