Half time ruling/no case to answer submission
If the defence in criminal proceedings are of the view that the prosecution have failed to raise a case to answer, they may make a submission that there is "no case to answer". This will take place at the halfway point in a trial (i.e. between the prosecution case and defence case).
In the Crown Court, a submission that there is no case to answer will be heard by a judge in the absence of the jury. Counsel for the defence will make his/her submissions first of all and then the counsel for the prosecution will have a chance to respond. The submissions should address whether evidence was adduced in relation to each required element of the offence and whether the evidence was reliable enough for a jury to convict on.
The test for the judge to consider is whether, taking the prosecution's case at its highest, a properly directed jury could not properly convict on it. If the judge finds that this is the case then he/she should direct the jury to acquit the defendant. If the judge finds finds that there is a case to answer then the trial will continue and the jury will hear the defence case before then making a determination on the evidence themselves.
A half-time ruling in favour of the defendant is a "terminating ruling" that can be appealed by the prosecution to the Court of Appeal.
A submission of "no case to answer" may also be made halfway through a magistrates' court trial where:-
1) The prosecution have failed to put forward evidence to prove an essential element of the alleged offence; or
2) The evidence adduced has been so unreliable or discredited that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it.
If such an application is successful the case will be dismissed.