What is a Newton trial at Crown Court?

Answer

According to Courtroom Advice, Newton trials at Crown Court, also known as Newton hearings, are a part of United Kingdom law in which a trial takes place when the facts presented by the prosecution and the accused are very different. Newton trials can occur even when the accused party has already plead guilty.

Courtroom Advice writes that Newton trials must be ordered by a judge. When they are ordered for someone who has admitted guilt, it is typically because the person has done so on a limited basis. For example, if someone was charged with intentionally wounding another person, he might admit that he is guilty of creating the wound, but not guilty of intent. This might cause the judge to order a Newton trial in order to determine if the accused is, in fact, guilty of intent and whether or not he should face punishment.

As with American courts, this is important because crimes committed with intent carry greater punishments than crimes committed without intent. Courtroom Advice notes that lawyers often advise against accepting Newton trial offers because accused parties rarely receive a positive outcome. It is also advised that individuals always seek legal advice before pleading guilty or accepting an offer for a Newton trial.

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