Thursday, February 09, 2017

New Stuff

A friend recently asked me to cast an eye over a summons she has received for a speeding offence. She was going too fast for a speed awareness course or a fixed penalty, and was duly reported. She is going through the Single Justice Procedure, which is a new one on me, but I expect that it consists of one JP sitting alone with a clerk, dealing with the simpler cases. In days gone by I used to sit alone on Saturdays when I could usually expect about ten or fifteen cases, mostly remands or discharges. My maximum power was a penalty of one pound or one day's imprisonment, which could fill the bill for he usual overnight drunks and nuisances. The real work was deciding on bail, and that is a serious matter when you are on your own.
I shall be interested to see how the new procedure works in practice; no doubt my one-time colleagues will be able to fill me in.

9 comments:

  1. SJP works well on the basic stuff......as you say, speeding etc where a guilty plea is received.....if there are queries as to potential outcome such as guilty but....or totting due to points then the person is asked to come into court as per the old system.....Seems to work well in our area.....

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  2. In Essex the SJP procedure is not done in Court. A Legal Adviser and a single magistrate operate in a back office.

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  3. Bang on with your guess: CPR 24.9 Single justice procedure notice. Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, Circular 2015/01 Sections 46 – 50 of and Schedule 11 to the Act introduce the Single Justice Procedure which applies only to cases involving adults charged with summary-only non-imprisonable offences. It will enable such cases to be dealt with by a single magistrate sitting with a legal adviser on the papers without the attendance of either prosecutor or the defendant. The defendant will instead be able to engage with the court in writing and the case will not need to be heard in a traditional courtroom. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/428204/cjc-act-circular.pdf

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  4. Doesn't this translate into 'if you're only charged with a minor offence, then you have less chance of defending yourself' ? Equally, does it encourage the prosecution to charge a lesser offence in the interests of an almost automatic win, versus a proper trial and its uncertainty and effort required ?

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  5. How does a member of the public attend a case being tried under the Single Justice Procedure? Are the rights of the public to attend cases being compromised here?

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  6. I was recently found guilty of a specific motoring offence via the SJP. The SJP was sent to an incorrect address so I didn't find out until another 4 months later. The guilty verdict was somewhat surprising given the witness statement by a police officer, provided with the SJP, made no allegation whatsoever relevant for the charge laid. The case has since been dropped by the CPS.

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    Replies
    1. Why did the officer go to the trouble of making a statement, then?

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    2. Because an offence was committed but an incorrect charge laid.

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  7. In our area, we have all day sittings for the single justice JP who's been rota'd. However a full day is all too much for the clerks who only have to do a half day of this. They get swapped at lunchtime!!

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