This Practice Note considers the possible ways in which criminal proceedings (or investigations) are concluded. It explains the following ways of ending a prosecution or bringing a prosecution to an end: decisions to take no further action (NFA) and out-of-court disposals (when investigations end without charge); the discontinuance, withdrawal and dismissal of charges, quashing of indictments, stays for abuse of process, entering a nolle prosequi and leaving counts to lie on the file (ie the end of proceedings without verdict, which allows them to be reinstated in certain circumstances); and the offering of no evidence, rulings of no case to answer, acquittals after trial, convictions and sentences after trial or plea, and upheld special pleas in bar is upheld (ie the end of proceedings after verdict, a final disposal).
This Practice Note covers the prosecution’s right to appeal against adverse rulings made by the Crown Court in respect of a trial on indictment, which would have the effect of terminating the proceedings, under Part 9 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. It considers the relationship between prosecutor appeals bought pursuant to sections 57 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) (appeals against terminatory rulings also referred to as ‘terminating’ rulings, ie rulings adverse to the prosecution which have the effect of terminating the proceedings) and other types of appeal and sets out the scope of the right to appeal and examples of what rulings can be appealed: a ruling of no case to answer, that the proceedings should be stayed as an abuse of process, to order disclosure of sensitive (PII) material and a ruling to discharge the jury. It also considers the procedure for these appeals including conditions precedent such as acquittal agreements or acquittal undertakings by the Crown, expedited and non-expedited appeals, the tests for leave to appeal (is it seriously arguable that it was unreasonable for the judge to have exercised their discretion in the way that they did?) and for the appeal itself (CJA 2003, s 67), and the possible outcomes of an appeal. It also covers some practical considerations for the prosecution and for the defence.
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