1. In R v Friskies Petcare UK Ltd 1, the Court of Appeal strongly recommended that whenever HSE prosecutes, it should set out in writing:
any aggravating features in schedule form that HSE say exist in the present case. The schedule should refer to the relevant aggravating features as set out the Definitive Guideline for sentencing health and safety cases – see the section on the sentencing hearing for further guidance. All of the relevant aggravating features should be set out from the outset. If a defendant pleads guilty on the basis set out in a Friskies schedule, then other aggravating features cannot be raised at a later sentencing hearing.
2. The Friskies schedule should be served on the court and the defendants as soon as possible, and in any event before they enter their plea. This will normally mean serving the document with the Summons and Initial details of the prosecution case (see Initial details of the prosecution case). The need to serve the Friskies schedule at the outset of proceedings has been emphasised in the case of Dilisser Roy Bernard v Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.2
3. If the defendant intends to plead guilty, the defence should submit a similar document, setting out the mitigating features which the court is to be invited to take into account.
4. If there is agreement between the parties as to the facts of the case and the aggravating and mitigating features, the agreed basis for plea should be put into writing in a combined document prepared by the prosecutor and agreed by the defence. This should then be provided to the court in advance of the hearing, so that there is no doubt about the proper basis upon which the court should sentence. See the section on the Sentencing hearing for guidance on the Basis of plea.
5. Further guidance on the preparation and service of Friskies schedules is given in the section Preparing for the sentencing hearing. An example of a typical Friskies schedule and a suggested covering letter to the defence can be found in the section Model examples.
6. The Criminal Procedure Rules (‘the Rules’) are always accompanied by the Consolidated Criminal Practice Directions (‘the Directions). These Directions are updated each year as the new Rules come into force. Part Q 1-6 of the 2014 Directions give further illustration of the financial information that should be supplied by a defendant due to be sentenced and makes direct reference to the use of Friskies schedules.