In the UK the vast majority of criminal prosecutions are heard before magistrates, in the Magistrates’ Court, who decide the outcome of all cases brought before them.
However, there are many more serious cases which are sent to the Crown Court for Trial before a jury.
Additionally, some offences entitle a defendant to elect to have a Trial before the Crown Court, in preference to one before the magistrates, as they choose to have their defence considered by a jury.
Statistically, the acquittal rates are higher in the Crown Court where an individual’s defence is considered and debated by jurors representing the community rather than in the Magistrates’ Court where decisions are taken by Lay Magistrates or a District Judge.
The Jury Function | Kangs Criminal Law Specialists
The role of each juror includes:
- attending at court promptly every day, as directed
- initially taking an oath or otherwise affirming, according to an individual’s beliefs, that the verdict given will be truthful and based upon the evidence produced before the court
- respecting the dignity of the court and the need not to discuss the evidence with anyone not involved with the trial
- not to conduct any personal investigation by way of any searches of the internet, or similar. The Judge will advise jurors not to undertake these acts, and warn that they could amount to a contempt of Court. Certain information must be withheld from jurors such as previous convictions of a defendant and, possibly, prosecution witnesses as well.
- listening diligently to the directions of the Judge and the evidence as presented to the court
- making notes, if considered appropriate, for reference purposes as a trial proceeds
- considering the evidence as it is delivered and, if any part of it is not clear to an individual or the Jury as a whole, drawing the difficulty to the attention of the Judge
- once all of the evidence has been presented and the Judge has summed up the case, to weigh up the evidence and decide, alongside fellow jurors, the innocence or otherwise of the defendant(s).
- A Judge will always ask the Jury to return with a unanimous verdict, if at all possible but there are circumstances where a Judge may accept a majority verdict.
The Jury Members | Kangs Criminal Law Advisory Solicitors
The Jury comprises a panel of twelve individuals drawn from a pool of people chosen at random.
It has long been established that this is the fairest way of securing justice.
Although a criminal Trial must commence with a panel of at least twelve people, there are occasions when it may continue with less than twelve jury members, where, for example, a juror is taken ill or removed by the Judge due to misconduct.
The Trial can continue as long as the number of jurors does not fall below nine.
Hung Jury | Kangs Criminal Trial Team
On occasions the jurors fail to reach either a unanimous or a majority verdict and the panel will be discharged without making a decision.
On these occasions, it will then be for the Prosecution to decide as to whether they wish for a re-Trial or not to proceed any further.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
We appreciate that anybody facing the Trial process will be going through a difficult time and we aim to simplify the process. We appreciate that if you are facing a triable either way offence that can be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, you will need the best advice as to where you should run your defence.
We work hard at all stages to explain the benefits of Magistrates’ or Crown Court Trial and how proceedings will unfold.
Kangs Solicitors are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process from the initial investigation/arrest by the police, all the way through to prosecution and Court proceedings.
Contact Us | Kangs Solicitors Crime Team
Please feel free to contact our team through any of the lawyers named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.