Crown court representation is a right that all defendants are entitled to. This means that anyone who is accused of a crime will have the opportunity to have legal representation at a crown court. In England and Wales, crown court representation can be through a solicitor or barrister.
Our experienced criminal defence solicitors are here to guide you through the process and offer you the best possible defence. Call us today on 0161 344 2244 or contact us online to discuss your case with one of our expert crown court solicitors.
Who can represent you at the Crown Court?
You have the right to legal representation at the Crown Court. This means you can have a criminal defence solicitor represent you, or you can choose to represent yourself. If you are eligible for legal aid, you may be able to get free representation.
Do you need legal representation at the Crown Court?
You may choose to represent yourself at the Crown Court if you feel confident enough to do so. However, we would advise you to be legally represented by a solicitor or barrister who can give you expert legal advice and represent your case in the best possible way.
What cases get dealt with at the Crown Court?
The Crown Court deals with a range of criminal cases, including serious offences such as murder and rape, robbery and fraud.
The Crown Court deals with the trials of the defendant as well as sentences for serious offences.
The majority of crown court trials are heard with a jury and often represented by a barrister. The jury will decide whether the defendant is guilty or not.
The role of the Judge is to ensure that the trial is conducted fairly and justly. The Judge also has the role of sentencing the defendant if convicted by the jury or when the defendant has pleaded guilty to the offence.
The Crown Court also deals with appeals from magistrates’ court convictions or sentences or cases which are passed from magistrates court for trial or sentencing.
What happens at the Crown Court’s first hearing?
Your first hearing at the Crown Court is often known as the ‘Plea Trial and Preparation Hearing’ (PTPH). You will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this hearing.
In some cases, where you have indicated a Guilty plea at the magistrates' court, your case will be listed for sentence. This hearing will be known as a sentencing hearing.
In some cases, if you have appealed the decision of the magistrates' court against conviction or sentence, then your hearing will be known as an appeal hearing.
What happens if you plead guilty or not guilty at the Crown Court?
- If you plead not guilty, your case will be adjourned, and the judge will set a date for your trial.
- If you plead guilty to all charges, the judge can sentence you straightaway, or they can ask for reports containing more information to be prepared so they can sentence you.
- If you plead guilty to some, but not all, charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will need to decide whether your guilty pleas are acceptable and review the charges to your not-guilty pleas (CPS.gov.uk).
What happens if you plead not guilty at the Crown Court?
At the PTPH, your legal team will set out the issue of your defence, and the court will fixed a date for your trial. The Judge will give directions for the prosecution and defence to follow for your case to be managed properly and ensure that your case is ready for trial. These directions are known are 4 stages which all parties have to follow:
- Stage 1 – service of prosecution case (50/70 days after sending, depending upon whether the defendant is in custody)
- Stage 2 – defence response, including serving of a defence case statement (28 days after service of stage 1)
- Stage 3 – prosecution response to defence case statement and other defence items (14-28 days after stage 2)
- Stage 4 – for the defence to provide materials/requests/applications
At Garratts, we will keep you updated with the development of your case and discuss with you the evidence that the prosecution relies upon. You will be represented by a barrister, which is chosen, from Manchester Chamber and are specialist in the offence which you face.
At the trial, you will be represented by your barrister. The members of the Jury will have to listen to your case and decide on a unanimous decision whether you are guilty or not guilty of the offence.
If you are found not guilty, you will be acquitted of the offence.
What happens if you are found guilty or plead guilty at the Crown Court?
If you are found guilty, or you plead guilty, the Judge will have to sentence you for the offence. In most cases, the Judge will be assisted with a presentence report which would have been prepared by the probation services.
The Crown Court can give various sentences, including:
- a prison sentence (including life imprisonment)
- a community sentence
- a fine
The sentence given will depend on the seriousness of the offence, your criminal record and other personal circumstances.
Can I appeal from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal?
If you have been found guilty in the Crown Court, you may be able to appeal against your conviction, sentence, or both. You must apply for permission to appeal within 28 days of your conviction or sentence date, depending on what you're appealing against. Your application will be approved or denied by a single judge.
If your appeal is approved, you will receive a letter with the date, time and place of the hearing in front of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, where your legal representative will present your case.
If you win, your sentence may be reduced and/or your conviction may be overturned. If you lose, you may need to restart your sentence and pay for any legal fees, including court costs.
If you wish to appeal, we would advise you to seek legal advice before you start your appeal.