Amandeep Murria of Kangs Solicitors discusses the position when a client appears for the first time at the Magistrates’ Court and the duty of disclosure placed upon the Prosecution.
The Duty of Disclosure
The Prosecution is under an obligation to provide details of their case.
The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2016 deal with providing initial details of the prosecution case as follows:
‘8.2- (1) The prosecutor must serve initial details of the prosecution case on the court officer-
(a) as soon as practicable; and
(b) in any event, no later than the beginning of the day of the first hearing
(2) Where a defendant requests those details, the prosecutor must serve them on the defendant—
(a) as soon as practicable; and
(b) in any event, no later than the beginning of the day of the first hearing.
(3) Where a defendant does not request those details, the prosecutor must make them available to the defendant at, or before, the beginning of the day of the first hearing.
8.3 Initial details of the prosecution case must include—
a) where, immediately before the first hearing in the magistrates’ court, the defendant was in police custody for the offence charged—
(i) a summary of the circumstances of the offence, and
(ii) the defendant’s criminal record, if any;
(b) where paragraph (a) does not apply—
(i) a summary of the circumstances of the offence,
(ii) any account given by the defendant in interview, whether contained in that summary or in another document,
(iii) any written witness statement or exhibit that the prosecutor then has available and considers material to plea, or to the allocation of the case for trial, or to sentence,
(iv) the defendant’s criminal record, if any, and
(v) any available statement of the effect of the offence on a victim, a victim’s family or others’.
Failure to Disclose or Inadequate Disclosure | Criminal Solicitors
Unfortunately, there are occasions when the Prosecution fail to comply with the initial disclosure obligations thereby making it extremely difficult for Solicitors to discharge their Professional duty to a client.
All clients who face proceedings within the Judicial System are entitled to know the nature of the allegations they face and the nature of the evidence sought to be relied upon by the Prosecution.
It is only when the material relied upon by the Prosecution is properly served that a client can make an informed decision about the nature of plea which should be entered at the first Court hearing.
Kangs Solicitors | Our Approach
Kangs Solicitors when faced with unsatisfactory initial disclosure by the Prosecution will:-
- Apply for an adjournment on behalf of our client, outlining the failure of the Prosecution to properly discharge the disclosure duty, thus ensuring our client’s interests are fully preserved and protected.
- Should the application to adjourn be refused by the Court, advise our client, as appropriate, to enter no plea or to plead not guilty and ensure the Court is made fully aware of the circumstances leading to the plea(s) entered by our client to ensure, once again, that our client’s position is fully protected and not compromised.
- As soon as sufficient disclosure has been provided by the Prosecution, advise our client in accordance with our Professional duties and, without any unnecessary delay, inform the Court accordingly, should it be necessary for our client to change any not guilty plea(s) already entered.
Kangs Solicitors | Our Services
We adopt a fearless approach when providing representation to our clients at all hearings at Court.
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Our Specialist team of Solicitors is happy to provide clients and fellow professionals with an initial no obligation consultation.