|Posted: 25 November 2006 at 13:40 | IP Logged
I am going to sound a bit pedantic here. This statement, "Is it true DCS are no longer compulsory in the crown court?" is a bit simplistic.
In a case where a case is dealt with at the Crown Court there is no mandatory duty to serve a defence statement, for example where there is a committal for sentence from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court, or perhaps an indictable only case sent from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court where there is a guilty plea.
If there is going to be a trial then most judges will suggest that a defence statement must be served. The protocol for the control and management of unused material in the Crown Court certainly suggests that there is a mandatory requirement to serve a defence statement:
(38) If no defence case statement – or no sufficient case statement – has been served by the PCMH, the judge should make a full investigation of the reasons for this failure to comply with the mandatory obligation of the accused, under section 5(5) of the CPIA.
(39) If there is no – or no sufficient – defence statement by the date of PCMH, or any pre-trial hearing where the matter falls to be considered, the judge must consider whether the defence should be warned, pursuant to section 6E(2) of the CPIA, that an adverse inference may be drawn at the trial. In the usual case, where section 6E(2) applies and there is no justification for the deficiency, such a warning should be given.
My view, and I may be corrected here, is that serving a defence statement is not mandatory, and has never been.
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