What Does A Criminal Solicitor Do? Part 2 - The Magistrates Court
As I have mentioned elsewhere being a Criminal Solicitor is rather a unique job.
In the Magistrates Court, If you work as a successful defence criminal solicitor solicitor you will generally be providing the following services for your clients:
1. Dealing with First Appearences. This could mean that you are advising on the appropriate pleas to offences/ mode of trial - i.e helping your client to decide, where he has the option, which court the case will be tried in and the thorny issue of bail.
As a Criminal Slicitor you will act as an Advocate for your client in Court. For instance in a bail application you may be putting forward suggested bail conditions to the magistrates; dealing with the prosecutions objections to bail and telling the magistrates about your clients personal charaterstics. You may be advising him whether to plead guilty or to opt for a trial. You will be recomending whether or not, if he/she has the option to take the case to the Crown Court or not. You will also advise him/her on possible sentence and hiis/her chances of being granted bail if he or she has been remanded into custody.
2. Dealing with second bail applications.
If a defendant has been remanded into custody by the magistrates court, if his case continues to be heard in that court he is generally entitled to a second bail application as of right. You will be dealing with the prosecutions objections to bail and generally trying to convince the magistrates that your client should be granted bail. In certain circumstances you may with cases be seeking to persuade the magistatrates that there has been a "change of circumstances". This is usually when you feel your client is entitled to a new bail application and the two previous bail applications made as of right have been refused.
3. Dealing with Trials
You will be representing the client as criminal solicitor when the court is deciding whether or not the defendant is guilty of a particular offence or offences. The general rule is that the prosecution bring the case; the prosecution must prove their case. This is to a high standard of proof "beyond all reasonable doubt", "so that the magistrates are satisfied so that they are sure". You will, as a criminal solicitor need to have a sound grasp of the rules of evidence; the criminal procedure rules; criminal advocacy and your clients case. Your clients future may depend on it as in the magistrates court he can be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison for two "either way" offences.
4. Dealing with sentence.
As a criminal solicitor you will need to know the sentencing guidelines for offences and the associated case law and where to find them. You must be experienced in the powers of persuasion and applying the facts of a case and appropriate sentence to your client. You must be able to grasp details quickly and assimilate them from documents such as pre-sentence reports, medical reports and expert reports weaving them into a coherent and cogent argument with little notice.
Robert Cashman is a Criminal Solicitor with Tuckers Solicitors. He offers Private and Legal aid representation as a criminal solicitor at the police station and in courts through Tuckers Solicitors. If you wish to instruct himqith regard to a criminal case please phone 07987 021 130 or contact him through his website criminalsolicitor.org