Appeals Process in the Magistrates Court

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Explain the Appeals Process in the Magistrates Court The magistrates’ courts hear a wide variety of lower level criminal cases in England and Wales. When charged with a criminal offence for which you appear before the magistrates’ court (or Youth Court) a number of things can happen. You may plead guilty to the offence with which you are charged, or be found guilty after a trial, after which you will have a conviction. In less common situations, the Crown may decide that they have insufficient evidence to continue to prosecute you, or that proceeding with the case against you is not in the public interest. It is possible for magistrates to proceed to try your case in your absence, so you can be found guilty of an offence even if you don’t attend your trial. Once you are convicted of an offence the magistrates may sentence you on the same day, or decide that they want further information about you before they decide how to sentence you (usually by way of a report compiled by the Probation Service, or if you are a youth, by the Youth Offending Team). If they consider that their powers of sentencing are insufficient to deal with your case in the magistrates’ court they may decide to commit you to the Crown Court for sentence. You have a right to appeal against the decisions of the magistrates’ courts. If you were found guilty after a trial, you can appeal to the Crown Court against your conviction. However, if you pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the magistrates’ court you will not be able to appeal against your conviction, but you can still appeal against the length or nature of your sentence. In order to appeal, you are required to obtain ‘leave’ (permission) from the Court of Appeal. In the first instance, you apply for leave to appeal to a single judge who will consider your request on the papers alone. If this is refused, you can apply in front of the full

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