Monday 27th January 2020
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What happens if I plead not guilty to an offence?

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If a young person not pleads guilty, the Defence and the Prosecution will probably ask for the case to be adjourned for a Pre-trial review.

What is a Pre-trial review?
Pre-trial review is simply a meeting between the two parties so that they can decide who they want to appear as witnesses at a trial.  Usually they do not need the young person to attend court for these, but sometimes they do. So a young person should make sure that they know whether or not they are required for the next occasion.

At the Pre-trial review, the Clerk of the court will set a date for the trial. The Defence solicitor will then send a letter to the young person and their parents telling them when they have to come back to court.

The day of the trial
The Defence witnesses will be kept separate from the Prosecution witnesses, and those who have been in court to give their evidence will not be allowed to talk to the people who have not yet done this. This is so that the next witnesses cannot be warned about what is asked in the court, as this would prejudice their evidence.

Everyone who gives evidence at a trial will be asked to promise on the Bible that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If people do not wish to promise in this way, perhaps they are not particularly religious, they can affirm that they will tell the truth. For people of other faiths, there is the opportunity to promise in the matter that their faith allows (for example, people of the Muslim faith can promise on the Koran).

The Prosecution will start the trial by telling the Magistrates what the Police say happened during the offence. They will question the witness that they are dealing with at the time, and then the Defence will ask the questions that they want answered. Once this is done, the Magistrates may also have questions to ask.

When all of this process has been gone through, the Magistrates will leave the court to discuss all of the evidence that they have heard and to decide whether or not the young person is guilty. If they are found guilty, then the process described above for people who have previous convictions will be followed. (People who are found guilty are not subject to the rules about Referral Orders etc).


 Contact information

Youth offending service
Ground Floor, The Albany 4, Cardiff Road, Luton, LU1 1PP
Tel: 01582 547900 or out of hours emergency 0870 2385465
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