Page 10 - If-you-are-suspected-of-a-criminal-offence
P. 10

If you are suspected of a criminal offence


            If the Officer of Justice decides to proceed, your case will be brought to trial
            before a judge. You will receive a summons ordering you to appear in court at
            the stated time.


            The Officer of Justice can also decide to ‘dismiss’ the case, which means that
            prosecution is waived on this occasion and you will not stand trial. However,
            the police and the Officer will retain all details of the case on file, and this
            information can be called upon if you are arrested for any subsequent offence.

       In court

            If you have been released from custody but your case is indeed to go to trial,
            you will be sent a ‘summons’ at your home address. A summons is basically a
            letter which states the charges against you and instructs you to appear before
            the judge at a certain time. If you are in detention or on remand awaiting trial,
            you will be served with the summons in person at the detention centre. If the
            court has already granted two extensions of the remand period and you have
            still not received a formal summons at the end of the total permitted period,
            you must be released immediately.
            The total period of pre-trial arrest cannot exceed 110 days: six days in police
            custody, fourteen days in detention and ninety days on remand. Court
            proceedings must begin within this period. If you are in custody while the trial
            is ongoing, the period of pre-trial arrest continues until the judge returns his
            verdict. Further information about court procedures can be found in the
            brochure, ‘On trial’.
            Once the judge has returned his verdict, if you have been found guilty and
            sentenced to a term of imprisonment, you will be transferred from the detention
            centre to a prison.
            If you disagree with the judge’s verdict or consider the sentence to be
            inappropriate, you have fourteen days in which to lodge an appeal. You must
            produce a written statement setting out why you believe your case should be
            re-examined. Not all cases will be heard by the Court of Appeal. In many
            instances, particularly those involving relatively straightforward cases, the

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