If you are having a Magistrates Court trial you would have previously pleaded not gulty to an offence(s).

If instructed, on the day of your trial an advocate will be there to defend you, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will also be represented by an advocate.

There will be a Court Clerk who will advise and assist the Magistrates or the District Judge who will  decide whether you are found guilty or not guilty of the offence(s).

At the start of the trial you will be formally identified and will confirm your not guilty plea.

The Prosecutor will the open the case giving a summary of allegation against you. After the case has been opened the Prosecutor will call witnesses to give their evidence. These witnesses may either be witnesses who allege that they were the victim, they may have witnessed the alleged offence or may be police officers who were involved in the investigation.

If there are facts in dispute, your defence advocate will cross examine the witnesses, this means that they will ask questions to try and discredit or challenge the witnesses’ versions of events.

If there is evidence that is not in dispute this evidence may be read to the court from a witness statement. In some cases there may also be CCTV and this will also be played in Court.

At the end of the Prosecution case, the Defence case begins. You have a choice as to whether you wish to give evidence, you will have previously discussed this with your advocate. Should you decide to give evidence you will then be called by your advocate who will ask you questions allowing you to give your version of events. The Prosecutor will then cross examine you trying to discredit your version.

If you have defence witnesses they will also give live evidence and will also be cross examined.

At the end of the Defence case, if you are represented, the Prosecutor will give a closing speech, summarising their case to try and show why they believe you are guilty of the offence(s). Your Defence advocate will then also give a closing speech summarising your case to try and show why you should be found not guilty.

The Magistrates or District Judge will then consider the case in full and decide whether or not you should be found guilty or not guilty.

If you are found not guilty you will be acquitted of the offence(s) and that will be the end of the case. If however you are found guilty the Court will then consider sentence. In some circumstances they may sentence immediately or they may have to adjourn sentence for the Probation Service to consider a Pre Sentence Report. You will then return to Court on another date for sentence to take place.

Nb. This guide is intended to give general information only and not intended to be used as the basis upon which Advice is given nor should it be relied upon as giving advice specific to a case or individual and Lawtons do not accept liability for anyone using this guide. Should you require specific advice in connection with a real case or situation, please contact us immediately so that we can provide specific Advice