Identify and evaluate the roles of the Prosecution and Defense in a criminal trial. Identify & discuss the sentencing powers, available to a Judge in a specific criminal case.

Essay by bugalugs1970College, UndergraduateA+, September 2009

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The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 lead to the establishment of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in 1986. The CPS is responsible, on behalf of the state, for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. The Legal Aid Act 1988 enables defendants on low incomes and facing court appearances the opportunity to free legal aid. The Access to Justice Act 1999 (s12), directed the Legal Services Commission to establish a Criminal Defence Service (CDS). This means that every person arrested for a crime, regardless of status, is legally entitled to have a free and independent legal representative present before police interviews commence. This paper will identify and evaluate the roles of the CPS, and the defence through a criminal trial. It will also identify and discuss sentencing powers, including limitations, available to a Judge in a specific criminal case.

For the purpose of this paper, mens reus and mens rea will have been established and a guilty verdict delivered for a singular murder.

The fundamental reason behind the establishment of the CPS was to provide an independent body that would objectively present the facts of a police investigation in court, and assist in ascertaining the truth in a criminal trial. The CPS has a duty to prove beyond responsible doubt that a crime has been committed before a conviction can be secured. It is also their responsibility to test all evidence for reliability and admissibility prior to a criminal trial. However, in the past the CPS have come under heavy criticism by the Police and more notably the Guildhall Report (1999) for the large number of cases being dropped or acquitted by Crown Courts due to poor case management. These criticisms have lead to the CPS being...