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offence triable either way


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A crime that may be tried either as an indictable offence or a summary offence. Such crimes include offences of deception or fraud, theft, bigamy, and sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.

When an offence is triable either way, the magistrates' court must decide, on hearing the initial facts of the case, if it should be tried on indictment rather than summarily (for example, because it appears to be a serious case). Even if they decide that they can deal with the matter adequately themselves, they must give the defendant the choice of opting for trial upon indictment before a jury. There are three exceptional cases, however:(1) If the prosecution is being conducted by or on behalf of the Attorney General, Solicitor General, or Director of Public Prosecutions, and they apply for trial on indictment, the case must be tried on indictment.(2) If the case concerns criminal damage or any offences connected with criminal damage (except arson), and the damage appears to be less than £5,000, the case must be tried summarily.(3) If the defendant is under 18, he must be tried summarily unless he is charged with (a) homicide; (b) an offence for which he is charged jointly with someone over 17, and it is thought necessary that they should be tried together; (c) a violent or sexual offence for which an adult could be sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment or more; (d) a firearms offence carrying a mandatory minimum sentence; or (e) certain other specified offences that can be punished by long periods of detention.

(1) If the prosecution is being conducted by or on behalf of the Attorney General, Solicitor General, or Director of Public Prosecutions, and they apply for trial on indictment, the case must be tried on indictment.

(2) If the case concerns criminal damage or any offences connected with criminal damage (except arson), and the damage appears to be less than £5,000, the case must be tried summarily.

(3) If the defendant is under 18, he must be tried summarily unless he is charged with (a) homicide; (b) an offence for which he is charged jointly with someone over 17, and it is thought necessary that they should be tried together; (c) a violent or sexual offence for which an adult could be sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment or more; (d) a firearms offence carrying a mandatory minimum sentence; or (e) certain other specified offences that can be punished by long periods of detention.

Subjects: Law


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