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Flashcards in Indictments Deck (20)
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What is an indictment?

The formal document which sets out the charge or charges the defendant faces in a CC trial.


Who drafts the indictment?



Where to find the wording for particular offences

Blackstone's and Archbold


What elements must each count contain?

1. Statement of the offence charged, describing it in ordinary language and identifying any legislation that creates it
2. Particulars of the conduct constituting the commission of the offence, making clear what the prosecution allege against D, including the date of the offence


Substitution or addition of offences from those sent up by the Mags

Prosecution can either substitute a different offence (e.g. replace burglary with theft) or add any other count, as long as it is indictable (indictable only or either way), disclosed in the evidence served on D and court, and can properly be joined in the same indictment (sufficient connection with another offence on the indictment).


Service of draft indictment

May be generated electronically when D sent for trial, or else must be served by P on defence and court within 28 days of service of the evidence on which the prosecution case is based. Time limit may be extended.


Service of indictment

Indictment should be served at least 7 days before PTPH. Appropriate court officer must endorse any paper copy made for court with a note identifying it as a copy of the indictment and showing the date on which the draft indictment became the indictment. Service takes pace when it is entered electronically on the court's digital system.


Any objections to the form of the indictment

Must be made before start of the trial


Amendment of indictment

Court may permit so long as injustice is not done to the defendant. Much depends on the stage at which the amendment is sought. For example, if prosecution evidence has already been heard, a key question is whether the defence would have cross-examined prosecution witnesses differently had the amendment been made earlier.


Amendment after the jury has retired to consider their verdict

Amendment can even take place after the jury have retired to consider their verdict, so long as no injustice is caused to D. Consideration will be given to whether defence would have cross examined prosecution witnesses differently or would have adduced different defence evidence.


Example of a late amendment case

Case where jury could not reach a verdict and, because they could not agree on an acquittal for the offence on the indictment, could not convict of a lesser included offence. Judge allowed lesser offence to be added to indictment. Not unjust to D because lesser offence was included within offence on indictment and so defence case would not have been presented differently.


Course of conduct offences

More than one incident of the commission of the offence may be included in a count if those incidents taken together amount to a course of conduct having regard to time, place, or purpose of commission. Library books example: 35 counts would overload the indictment, so it would be better to have one count alleging theft of 35 books between the two dates.


When would the course of conduct approach not be permissible?

If D were to raise different defences in respect of the taking of different books.


Where the same indictment charges more than one offence, when may the court exercise its discretion to order separate trials?

If the defendant may otherwise be prejudiced or embarrassed in their defence, e.g. the offences are neither founded on the same facts nor form or are part of a series of offences or the same or similar character, or for any other reason it is desirable that D should be tried separately for any one or more of the offences. So, should not be joined on the same indictment unless founded on same facts (so amounting to single transaction or otherwise having common factual origin), or form or are part of a series of offences of the same or a similar character, having regard to both legal and factual characteristics.


Two cases where there would be separate trials and one where there would not be

E.g. Criminal damage founded on same facts as burglary because took place in order to commit the burglary.
E.g.2. Witness intimidation would not have occurred but for the burglary, so founded on the same facts.
E.g.3 Both shoplifting but in different places —Probably not.


Listed summary offences may appear on the indictment if linked, but court retains jurisdiction...

To try the summary offence even if the indictable offence with which it is linked is no longer before the court at the time of the trial, such as because the prosecution has discontinued the prosecution or D has pleaded guilty.



When indictment contains more than one count, defence can ask for counts to be tried separately by different juries. Presumption against severance where there is a strong link between the counts unless some special feature can be showed. Potential arguments may be based on scandalous nature of the evidence on one of the counts, such that the jury would be prejudiced against the defendant if they convicted on that count, or the number and complexity of counts making the case too difficult for the jury to cope with.


In summing up, the judge will direct the jury...

To consider each count separately and not to convictive defendant on a count simply because they’ve convicted on another count.


Joinder of defendants

Depends on whether the offences can be joined: Are the assaults founded on the same facts or do they form (part of) a series of offences of the same or similar character? Contrast a pub fight with two fights in a pub.


What if one defendant wants to sever?

E.g. burglary they are alleged of committing together and one D says they didn't do it. Presumption in favour of joint trial. Judge will order separate trials only in very exceptional cases. Fact Ds are blaming each other for the offence is not enough to justify an order for separate trials.