Crown Court Representation
If you have been charged with an offence, you will most likely have to appear in court. If you are under 18, you will be asked to attend the Youth Court. All other offences will go before the Magistrates’ Court first, and from there, may go on to be heard at a full trial (or for sentencing) at the Crown Court.
You will need expert, incisive legal advice and representation from lawyers with expertise in every kind of court setting. At Qamar Solicitors, our expert criminal lawyers can act on your behalf – whatever the offence; and help guide you through the full process – whatever court you are asked to attend. We will ensure that your interests are fully represented, and that justice is fairly carried out.
What is the Crown Court?
Serious offences are tried at the Crown Court. This includes:
- Cases sent up for trial by the Magistrates’ Courts because the offences are so serious as to be ‘indictable only’
- ‘Either way’ offences, which can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court, but can also be sent to the Crown Court if the defendant chooses a jury trial
- Defendants convicted in magistrates’ courts, but sent to the Crown Court for sentencing due to the seriousness of the offence
- Appeals against decisions of magistrates’ courts
- Where the defendant is under the age of 18 and appears in the Youth Court, but the offence is deemed to be a ‘Grave Crime’ – the case will be sent up to the Crown Court
If you have been charged with an indictable offence, your case will then go on to be heard at the Crown Court. At Qamar Solicitors, we are strongly committed to ensuring that all our clients receive the best possible representation, and we will advocate firmly on your behalf, ensuring that you receive a fair trial, and making sure you fully understand every stage of the process.
What happens at a crown court?
Crown court trials are carried out in the same way. Evidence will be heard from your lawyer (usually a barrister appointed to represent you in court) and the prosecution. Your lawyer will question both you and any prosecution witnesses; and you and any defence witnesses in your case will be cross-examined by the prosecuting lawyer.
Preparing to be questioned in court can be a very anxious time, but at Qamar solicitors we work closely with you to ensure you are properly prepared for your trial. We will argue passionately on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Who is the judge?
Crown Courts are overseen by a crown court judge, who will have been appointed by the Government after having practised as a lawyer for at least seven years (and often for much longer).
Judges are addressed in court as ‘Your Honour’. If the trial is being held at the Central Criminal Court (popularly known as the Old Bailey), judges are called Recorders, and are addressed as ‘Your Lordship/Ladyship’. If your case is tried by a high court judge, he or she will also be addressed as Your Lordship/Ladyship, or ‘My Lord/My Lady).
What role does the jury play?
If you are put on trial at the Crown Court, a jury will be sworn in, made up of 12 members of the jury drawn at random from the general public. It is up to the jury to decide the facts of the case, having heard evidence from both sides and to reach a guilty or not guilty verdict.
The judge will play an important role in making certain legal decisions and giving instructions to the jury on complicated matters, but the final decision rests with the jury.
What happens during a crown court trial?
Although some trials may be longer and more complex than others, most crown court trials follow the same pattern.
The first stage is that the Court Clerk will read out the charge sheet. This sets out the offences which the defendant has been accused of committing, and is known as the ‘indictment’.
The prosecution will then present its case. Its lawyer (either a barrister or a ‘solicitor advocate’) will briefly explain to the jury what the prosecution considers to be the main facts of the case against the defendant. It will then bring evidence before the jury. This might take the form of oral evidence from witnesses, written evidence, expert reports, and so on.
Oral evidence means that a witness attends court in person, and answers questions from lawyers from both sides of the case.
Written evidence means written statements that have been provided, for instance, by the police. Often, the evidence in a written statement is agreed by both sides of the case, and is read aloud to the jury.
Depending on the nature of the charge, items such as clothing or weapons might be brought into the court to show the jury.
Once all the evidence has been heard, lawyers from both sides ‘sum up’ their case for the benefit of the jury. These speeches are often extremely eloquent and persuasive, because the summing up is one last effort to persuade the jury that their case is the correct one. The judge then gives a final summing up of the case, before directing the jury to retire, and consider its verdict.
When the jury returns, it declares whether it has found the defendant guilty or not guilty. If it reaches a guilty verdict, it is then for the judge to decide on an appropriate sentence.
How Can Qamar Solicitors Help?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact the criminal defence team at Qamar Solicitors as soon as possible. We guide our clients throughout the investigation and court process helping them understand what is happening at every stage.