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Indictments Notes

BPTC Law Notes > BPTC Criminal Litigation Notes

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A more recent version of these Indictments 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:

INDICTMENTS What is an Indictment? Formal doc setting out charge(s) to be tried in Crown Court Heading: Identify Defendant, Reference number of case, location of Crown Court Then lists each charge as a count. Counts Contents s3(1) Indictments Act 1915 ("IA")- Indictment must contain:

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a statement of the specific offences which Defendant is charged with, and

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such particulars as necessary for giving reasonable information on nature of the charge

"Statement of offence"

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name of offence

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statutory provision which created it (if statutory)

"Particulars"

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factual information about the charge,

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disclosing factual elements of the offence.

Duplicitous Counts one count: one offence If more than one offence - "duplicitous" - Defence can ask to quash the count Several Acts constituting Single Offence Q: do separate acts form one offence or separate offences? (if separate offences - duplicitous) Criminal Procedure Rules, r14.2(2) - more than one incident of the commission of the offence may be included in a count if:

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those incidents taken together amount to a course of conduct,

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having regard to time, place and purpose of commission

Number of acts may also amount to single offence if form part of "same transaction" Examples:

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theft of multiple items from one store - single count.

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theft of multiple library books between two dates - single count

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not theft of one item from A and then theft of another item from B - separate acts of theft.

If statutory offence and statute:

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creates one offence which can be committed in number of ways - different commissions are one offence

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creates different offences depending on how committed - different commissions are

separate offences Example: Handling stolen goods - creates different offences: "handling" by receiving stolen goods and "handling" in other ways

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If Defendant receives stolen goods and then handles in another way - separate counts

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If Defendant only handles in other ways - single count.

Application to Quash Indictment

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Defence may apply to quash an indictment which is "bad for duplicity"
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Prosecution may counter by asking for leave to amend - to split the duplicitous count into separate counts.

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Court of Appeal: Where conviction on duplicitous count - count is not void and conviction is not necessarily unsafe.
* Q: Whether Defendant was prejudiced by the duplicity of the count?

Specimen Counts Include limited number of counts and provide Defence with list of all the offences which the counts are "samples" of. If Defendant pleads NG - Prosecution may seek trial of specimen counts by jury and remaining counts by Judge (under s17 Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004)

Who draws up the Indictment?
Normally drafted by CPS, then sent to Crown Court where signed by officer of Court r14.1 - Prosecution must serve bill of indictment on Crown Court officer max 28 days after service on Defendant and Crown Court of copies of the evidence on which the charges are based (as part of s51 transfer procedure).

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Crown Court may extend time-limit, even after expiry.

s2 Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1993 - "Bill of Indictment" becomes indictment when "preferred" "preferred" - when sent to Crown Court r14.1(3)(a) - still needs to be signed by Crown Court officer. Objections to indictment based on any procedural failure may not be made after start of trial (jury sworn (not PH)) Order of Defendants on indictment - responsibility of Prosecution - has discretion. Joinder of Counts Criminal Procedure Rules, r14.2(3) - Indictment may contain more than one count if all offences charged:

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