Factors considered to grant bail to a juvenile

In the event Max Greentree pleads not guilty, where will max’s trial of the latest theft matter (concerning the digital camera, etc.) take place and why?

Under schedule 3 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, an Offence committed solely by a Juvenile, a Juvenile being a young adult aged 10-17, will commence in the Youth Court. Max Greentree is categorised as a Juvenile because he is of the age of 15, however the crime has not been solely committed by him therefore his trial would not commence in the Youth Court.

If a Juvenile is charged jointly with an adult the case inaugurates in the Magistrates Court the usual way. The magistrates then will have to decide if the two defendants should be kept together or if the adult should be dealt with in Magistrate's Court and the young person in the Youth Court. The adult will determine jurisdiction throughout the trial process until sentencing where the case MAY be remitted to the Youth Court.

“Where a youth offender is jointly charged with an adult, the charge shall be heard in the adult magistrates court: Section 46 (1) CYPA 1933." [1] 

What factors will the court take in consideration when considering whether to grant bail to Max Greentree whilst awaiting trial? On the facts stated above, conclude your answer to this question by indicating whether you consider he will be granted bail and why.

The Bail Act 1976 applies to juveniles. The Bail Act 1976 states the criteria for granting and refusing bail. There is always a presumption that the offender has a right to bail. However there are some exceptions. The court is obliged to consider the interests of the youth which is stated under section 44 Children and Young Persons Act 1933 [2] .

In deciding whether to grant Max Greentree bail and impose any conditions on the bail the court will consider his previous convictions. Max has previously been convicted of taking a bicycle without permission where he pleaded not guilty. The court if made aware of this conviction could possibly deny him bail under the Bail Act 1976 or impose conditions on his bail. In addition to the conviction he also has a reprimand for shoplifting this also if brought to the attention of the court may affect his chances of receiving bail. He has a previous charge of theft of a leather jacket however; he failed to attend an appointment with the youth offending team and failed to attend sentencing. Based on his previous convictions, bad attendance record and his apparent dishonest character there appears to be an extensive bad previous history which most probably will negatively affect his right to bail.

The only factor which could positively affect his right to bail is his family ties. The family he has consist of his parents and his two siblings this would look good as it shows that he has connections which could keep him under guard.

There appears to be strong evidence against him in regards to this charge of theft. The security guard gave his description to the police so it is possible that the security guard may have seen him during the act. At the time of arrest he was found in position of the stolen digital camera.

In the event that the court is made aware of his full previous criminal history, i.e. conviction and reprimand the court most likely will deny him bail as he appears to be very untrustworthy and dishonest.

If bail is refused, where will Max Greentree be detained whilst he awaits trial?

If bail is refused to a Max, the Court shall remand him to local authority accommodation, unless he is remanded to a remand centre or prison.

The Criminal Justice Act 1991 abolished remands to prison and remands centres for offenders under 17, and replaces them by remands to secure accommodation.

The Court shall select the local authority that is to take care of Max and may require any condition on behalf of the local authority that could be obligatory [3] , even though it must ask the authority prior to action.

Until the Home Secretary is content that local authorities can meet the requirement to provide secure accommodation the provision for 15-16 year old boys stated in the Criminal Justice Act 1991 permits remand centres and prisons to remand them.

Where the court is contented that the security obligation is met but agree on that:

“ it is undesirable to remand a 15 or 16 year old boy to remand centre or prison because of his physical or emotional immaturity or a propensity of his to harm himself (sec 23 (5A) Children and Young Persons Act 1969), and the local authority, YOT or probation officer has been consulted, and a bed in secure accommodation is available [4] "

The remand will be not to a remand centre or prison but to a secure accommodation. [5] 

Comment on the “no comment" interview. Then, what are the implications for Max Greentree’s trial if he maintains his plea of not guilty in respect of mode of trial

Max in spite of advice from his solicitor to give a full interview by answering all questions he listened to his mother and gave a “no comment" interview.

Max had the right to remain silent under s.34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and therefore he is allowed to answer no comment to any questions put to him by the officer.

The fact that he gave a “no comment" interview may harm Max’s defence in court if he wants to rely on facts that he did not mention in the interview. This is as the court may ask why he did not mention the facts in the interview. The court may conclude that facts Max failed to mention in the interview were facts that he should have been expected to reasonably remember, in this case the court may draw such inferences which appear proper. The court then may conclude that Max gave a “no comment" interview because he had nothing to say that would stand against examination and has since invented his case to fit the prosecution evidence.

In addition Max may not use his solicitor as a reason for his “no comment" interview. This is as his solicitor did not advice him to do so. If he solicitor had advised him to give a “no comment" interview max could give evidence that he did so on the advice of his solicitor which does not thereby waive his privilege to use facts in court not given in the interview. [6] 

If the case is listened to in the Magistrates' Court and the adult defendant pleads not guilty to the accusation, the Magistrates will ask Mr Greentree if he wants to plead guilty or not guilty. As Mr Greentree pleads not guilty, he and the adult defendant will be tried in the Magistrates' Court. Nevertheless if Mr Greentree were to plead guilty, the Magistrates' Court would remit him to the Youth Court for sentence if the sentences offered to the Magistrates' Court are unsuitable.

However, if the adult were to plead guilty and the Mr Greentree pleads not guilty, the adult Magistrates' Court will try Mr Greentree or remit him to the Youth Court for trial. If Mr Greentree were to plead guilty, the Magistrates' Court will remit him to the Youth Court for sentence if none of the sentences available to the Magistrates' Court are appropriate [7] .

If Max Greentree pleads guilty or is convicted of the latest theft offence, what is the likely sentence he would receive, and which court will sentence him?

In determining the sentence, the key elements for consideration are, the age of the offender (chronological and emotional), the seriousness of the offence, the likelihood of further offences being committed and the extent of harm likely to result from those further offences [8] . Therefore, the approach to sentencing is individualistic, which means the sentencing will be given according to Max Greentree’s personal attributes and history. From the information given we can see that he has an extensive history of criminal behaviour however we can also see that he appears to be emotionally affected “I was frightened", “I have been really stupid" which may indicate, comprehension and apprehension of his acts. In addition he claims to have been influenced by an adult, which may indicate lack of will to commit crime and vulnerability. If the court will take such considerations in mind they may empathise and be lenient on Mr Greentree.

Mr Greentree is most likely to receive a Discretionary Referral Order. [9] This is as he does not satisfy the conditions needed for a Mandatory Referral Order as he has been previously convicted. However, although he has been convicted he has never been sentenced to a referral order before and therefore the courts have the discretion to sentence him to one. In addition Mr Greentree has pleaded guilty to the theft offence which is a condition that needs to be satisfied.

A referral order can only be made in the youth court or adult magistrates' court, not the Crown Court. [10] Mr Greentree will most likely be sentenced in the Youth Court if he has pleaded guilty.

What action should Max Greentree be advised to take with regards to the outstanding warrant?

There are no special request requirements for juveniles. Neither the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 nor the Code G of the D makes special provision. Subjectively Mr Greentree should be advised with regards to the outstanding warrant to bring it attention to the courts if they are not yet aware of it. It would look better on Max Greentree’s behalf to be honest from this point onwards about any previous criminal history he may have. His honesty may potentially mitigate his sentence and take aggravation away from the situation. Upon being asked why he did not surrender to the warrant if he explains how he emotionally felt the courts may have an empathetic approach with him.

In addition having confessed the warrant at this stage will allow everything to be dealt with all together and avoid the police and the courts having to pursue him.