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“Hybrid” offences

Comment 10th July 2010

It is a nonsense that anyone charged with a minor theft or burglary offence can opt for a Crown Court trial. Like criminal damage, thereshould be a limit by way of loss, so any offence with a loss of, say, £5000 could only be a summary offence, but still with the option of reitting to Crown Court for sentence if need be, unless you open up the sentencing option of 6 months impt max for Magistrates Court.

I could steal a 54p bar of chocolate, have my legally aided solicitor at extorniate cost, opt for Crown and have a barrister at huge cost plus the costs of a trial jury. It is don purely since th CPS will drop it due to those costs.

Cut out the Crown Court option.

There will howls of protest from libs, Law Society and Bar Council, but only since the latter will lose a lot of fees. They will cry Magna Carta. Stuff them.

At the same time, there should be a reliance on courts to refuse a legal aid certificate, if on the evidence, with a not guilty plea, there should have been a guilty plea at the first appearance. 

This would cut the costs of courts and legal aid massively and even, may I suggest, make better justice.

Why does this matter?

Huge cost savings, better justice (poorer lawyers), a win-win situation.

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