Practice and Procedure

Crown Court Business Arrangements over Christmas & breach of bail in murder cases

PUBLISHED December 6, 2012

The last sitting day before Christmas for all London Crown Courts will be Friday 21st December 2012. The courts will re-open for business as usual on Wednesday 2nd January 2013.
Draft lists for 2nd January will be published on Friday 21st December and finalised on Friday 28th by all courts except Croydon and Inner London who will finalise on Monday 31st December.
Offices at all courts will be open Thursday 27th and Friday 28th December. The offices at Croydon and Inner London only will be open on 31st December.
Inner London Crown Court will be sitting one Court to deal with any urgent matters on 27th, 28th and 31st December.
All applications for urgent hearings between 27th and 31st must be made to the home court who will then make the necessary arrangements with Inner London.
Inner London must not be contacted directly save in respect of matters arising on 31st in relation those Courts that are closed.
The above arrangements apply only to urgent matters arising within normal office hours.
As magistrates' courts no longer have powers to deal with breaches of bail in murder cases (Sec 115 Coroners & Justice Act), a defendant arrested for breaching their bail conditions in relation to a murder charge must appear before an authorised Crown Court Judge within 24 hours of arrest. The 24 hour period excludes Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Special arrangements have been made to cover any defendant charged with murder who is arrested for breaching bail conditions between close of business on Friday 21st December and 13.00 hrs on Monday 24th December 2012. To comply with legislation the defendant must appear before a Crown Court Judge on Monday 24th December 2012.
In these circumstances the Police Officer in the case should arrange to produce the defendant at their nearest Magistrates? Court with Prison to Court Video Link equipment. That Magistrates? Court should contact Rob Matthews, Operations Manager (details below), to arrange the hearing before a Central Criminal Court Judge, who will be on call to attend Hammersmith Magistrates? Court to deal with the matter.
The Officer in the case must fax/email any relevant documentation to the Magistrates? Court prior to the hearing.
This arrangement is applicable for any breaches that occur in murder cases across England and Wales.
If a defendant is arrested after 13.00 hrs on 24th December he/she must be produced before a Crown Court dealing with emergency business for their area on Thursday 27th December (please contact your local Court for details).
Hammersmith Magistrates? Court Contact Details:
Rob Matthews (Operations Manager) ? Tel: 07795 402 078
Fax: 0208 700 9344