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Indictable-only offences
Indictment
Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)/Unlawful Wounding
Injunction
Insider dealing 
Instructions

 

Indictable-only offences

An indictable-only offence is an offence that can only be tried in the Crown Court.
Typically, indictable-only offences are the more serious, e.g murder, rape or robbery. Any conspiracy is indictable-only.

The term indictable-only refers to the indictment which is the formal document containing "counts" and particulars of the allegations.

A defendant charged with or summonsed for an indictable-only offence will only appear at one hearing in the Magistrates' Court. The Magistrates' Court will recognise that it has no jurisdiction to hear the matter and will "send it" to the Crown Court. The first hearing in the Crown Court (normally a Plea and Case Management Hearing) will typically take place around six weeks later. The Magistrates' Court will determine the position in relation to bail in the interim (albeit if bail is refused a Crown Court bail application can be made).

Indictment

An indictment is a document that formally sets out the offence(s) a defendant is facing in relation to criminal proceedings in the Crown Court.

An indictment will contain one or more counts specifying the offence(s) and the particulars of each offence.

An indictment will be prepared by the prosecution and signed by an officer of the court. It will be put to a defendant at a Plea and Case Management Hearing where he/she will be required to indicate a plea to each count (i.e. guilty or not guilty).

Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)/Unlawful Wounding

Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH)/Unlawful Wounding can be charged as one of two offences. The first, section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, requires the defendant to have specific intent (i.e. he/she has to have intended to cause harm). The second, section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, does not (recklessness will suffice).

Both offences require the defendant to assault the victim thereby causing him/her to be wounded or suffer grievous bodily harm.

"Grievous bodily harm" has its everyday meaning, i.e. "really serious harm to the body".

"Wounding" means the breaking of the skin. However, the more appropriate charge for an assault resulting in a minor cut or laceration would be assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).

Section 20 is an either-way offence, whilst section 18 (GBH/unlawful wounding with intent) is indictable-only and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

If a prosecutor can show that the defendant's intention was to kill the victim then it may be more appropriate to charge the defendant with attempted murder.

Injunction

An injunction is a (civil) court order requiring an individual:-

  • not to carry out one or more particular acts;
  • and/or-to carry out one or more particular acts.

An injunction may be granted as a form of interim relief pending final resolution of the matter and/or "in perpetuity" at the final determination of the matter.

If an individual breaches an injunction he/she will be in contempt of court and could be fined or imprisoned if the breach is considered serious enough.

Examples of scenarios where injunctions may be obtained are:-

  1. To prevent the publication of an article
  2. To stop an individual contacting the claimant/applicant (a "restraining order")
  3. To prevent an individual knocking down a party wall
  4. To prevent the dissipation of assets
  5. To require the delivery up of goods
    Injunctions are often applied for on a "without notice/ex-parte" basis due to the urgency of the matter and/or the need not to tip off the target that the court's involvement is being sought.

Insider dealing

Insider dealing or insider trading is a criminal offence whereby an individual is accused of trading (or assisting another in trading) in stocks or other investment vehicles by virtue or as a result of acquiring information which is not available to the general public. Until recently prosecutions for insider dealing has been relatively rare. Since the onset of the economic downturn however, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and other prosecutorial agencies have stepped up their determination to prosecute suspects for this and other related offences.
Insider dealing carries a custodial sentence.

Instructions

"Instructions" is a term used by lawyers to describe (a) what a client has told his/her lawyer their position is in relation to a particular matter (i.e. their version of events) and (b) an action a lawyer has been asked to undertake by his/her client.

For example, the term can be used in the following way:-

  • In solicitors' correspondence to the other side: "we are instructed to issue proceedings against you if we do not.."
  • In solicitors' correspondence with his/her client: "I need you to attend our offices so I can take your instructions on the prosecution evidence"
  • In court: "Your worship, may I take instructions on the matter?"

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