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Prosecution
Stage 5: Appear in court


For: England and Wales only, and not independent legal oversight cases

Step 5.1

For: Prosecutor

Is attendance at court now required?


On attending court:

  • discuss with the defence any outstanding issues, etc, before the hearing starts

If the defendant does not appear:

  • be able to prove service of the summons if required.

If the summons was served by post:

  • an adjournment may need to be requested in order to serve the summons in person

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Step 5.2

For: Prosecutor

Do any challenges arise?


If your right to conduct proceedings is challenged:

  • produce your warrant card and explain that HSWA s 39 (1) authorises inspectors to conduct proceedings

If the possibility of bias is identified:

  • raise at start of the prosecution address any objections to a particular magistrate adjudicating the case, if good reasons exist

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Step 5.3

For: Prosecutor

Has there been a plea before venue?


Where the defendant pleads guilty and the Magistrates Court proceeds to hear the case but HSE considers the case is suitable for indictment:

  • when opening the case, emphasise any aggravating features or particularly serious aspects of the case in support of committing matter to the Crown Court

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Step 5.4

For: Prosecutor

Is this a mode of trial hearing?



If, following a not guilty plea, a mode of trial hearing (an either way case) takes place:

  • be prepared to indicate to the court whether summary trial or trial on indictment is considered more suitable

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Step 5.5

For: Prosecutor

Is the defendant pleading guilty?



Where the defendant pleads guilty and the Magistrates Court decides to hear the case:

  • outline the facts of the case
  • highlight any aggravating features, as set out in Friskies schedule
  • cover any other relevant factors and legal precedents
  • be prepared to give the court a statement of the defendant's record
  • record the final outcome, including any costs

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Step 5.6

For: Line manager/prosecutor/administrator

Is the defendant pleading not guilty?


Where the defendant pleads not guilty at a Magistrates Court hearing and the proceedings are adjourned:

  • appoint a solicitor agent, brief them on the case and agree their role in the subsequent procedures
  • record the solicitor agent's details and the plea

As appropriate, take the following action on witnesses and statements:

  • a seek agreement with the defence on evidence which can be admitted via S9 statements
  • notify those witnesses that are required at court
  • seek their agreement to attend
  • where agreement is not achieved, apply for a witness summons
  • consider requests from witnesses to be provided with a copy of their statement
  • a send an injured person's statement to the defence only if it is served for the purposes of S9 CJA 1967 or is included in a committal bundle
  • a notify the defendant, or other witnesses, via recorded delivery of any requirement for them to produce in court any relevant documents
  • obtain any record of conviction for health & safety offences by the defendant from the clerk of the convicting court
  • inform the defendant in writing if any previous advice or other enforcement action will be referred to
  • undertake prosecution witness checks on the Police National Computer for previous relevant convictions and disclose to the defence as part of prosecution disclosure
  • follow step 4.6-7 with respect to the disclosure of unused material
  • provide the defence and the court with copies of the documentary evidence for the prosecution case
  • agree any formal admissions
  • conduct the case according to existing instructions
  • record developments and final outcome, including any costs, when reached

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Step 5.7

For: Prosecutor

Is the case adjourned for sentencing?


If the case is adjourned for sentencing in the Magistrate’s Court, at the subsequent hearing:

  • outline the facts of the case
  • highlight any aggravating features, as set out in Friskies schedule
  • cover any other relevant factors and legal precedents
  • be prepared to give the court a statement of the defendants record
  • record the final outcome, including any costs

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Step 5.8

For: Line manager/prosecutor

Is the case adjourned for sentence in the Crown Court?


If the case is committed for sentence in the Crown Court:

  • inform all interested parties of the date when the case is to be heard, including any bereaved family or injured persons and Press Office.
  • in cases where a solicitor agent has not been instructed, refer case to LAO as soon as possible, and at least within 7 days of the committal decision
  •  ensure Counsel is instructed to present the case
  • prepare details of the costs for the case for Counsel
  • attend the sentencing hearing
  • record final outcome on COIN, including any costs

For guidance on this, please see:

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Step 5.9

For: Prosecutor and line manager

Is the case adjourned for commital proceedings?


If case adjourned for committal proceedings and defendant does not wish to challenge the evidence during committal:

  • seek defence agreement to a "paper" committal

Following an adjournment for committal:

  • appoint a Solicitor Agent to deal with the arrangements for committal to Crown Court and seek a Counsel nomination from Legal Adviser's Office
  • remind the Solicitor Agent that if the conviction is successful, costs applications should include the investigation costs
  • following the advice from Counsel, prepare and serve the committal bundle containing the statements and documentary exhibits
  • attend committal hearing with original signed statements (or copies) and liaise with prosecuting advocate
  • undertake prosecution witness checks on the Police National Computer for previous relevant convictions and disclose to the defence as part of prosecution disclosure
  • follow step 4.7 with respect to the disclosure of unused material
  • record developments, including any costs

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Step 5.10

For: Prosecutor/administrator

Is preparation for a Crown court hearing now required?


In co-operation with the solicitor agent, prepare for attendance at Crown court hearing as follows:

  • copy the certificate of committal from the magistrate’s court to the solicitor immediately on receipt
  • subsequently check the accuracy of the indictment, drafted by Counsel, before sending it to the Crown Court within 28 days of the committal
  • obtain witness availability for the following 6 months and take to the Plea and Directions hearing
  • inform the witnesses of the date of the trial and confirm their intention to attend; instruct the solicitor agent to obtain a witness summons if any decline to attend
  • inform press office and any bereaved relatives of the date of the trial
  • forward the notice of fixture from the Crown court to the solicitor immediately it is received
  • prepare copies of the bundle of evidence for the jury as stipulated by Counsel and take to court on the first day of the trial together with any non-documentary exhibits
  • ascertain the witnesses’ expenses and details of HSE's costs, and supply to the solicitor pre-hearing
  • attend court hearing with bundles and non-documentary exhibits
  • record developments and final outcome, including any costs

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Step 5.11

For: Prosecutor/administrator

Has the case attracted the media?


If contacted by the media following the verdict/sentencing:

  • ensure any interview is conducted outside the precincts of the court, and
  • that no criticism of the verdict or penalty is made

Let Press Office deal with the media;

  • where the case has attracted significant media attention, or
  • if an HSE decision has been criticised


Next:
Stage 6: Close prosecution process

Updated 2016-02-25