Not Guilty and Guilty Pleas

If the person charged enters a Not Guilty plea

For either way offences, the Magistrates’ Court will first decide whether the offence can be kept in the magistrates Court (‘retaining jurisdiction’), or is too serious and has to go to Crown Court (‘declining jurisdiction’). If they decide they can keep it in the Magistrates Court, then the client can still choose (‘elect’) to have the matter go to the Crown Court.

Where the case stays in the Magistrates’ Court, the Court will fix a trial date. Where the case is to go to the Crown Court, it is adjourned for a committal hearing to take place (see below).

If the person charged enters a Guilty plea

If person charged enters a guilty plea, the case may be adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service local to the defendant (known as a PSR or sometimes a FDR – fast delivery report). If the Court is of the opinion that its sentencing powers are not enough, then it can commit the matter for sentence in the Crown Court.