offering no evidence

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In proceedings before the magistrates' courts and the Crown Court, the prosecution may offer no evidence at any stage before the close of its case. Leave of the court is not required, although in the Crown Court the judge has a discretion whether to accept the prosecution's decision. Where no evidence is offered in the Crown Court, a verdict of not guilty is recorded and no further proceedings are possible for the offence unless the verdict is set aside under the procedure provided for in pt 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (see double jeopardy). Where the matter is before the magistrates' court for trial, the charge is dismissed and cannot be revived in the future. If no evidence is offered prior to committal to the Crown Court for trial, the defendant is discharged (under s 6, Magistrates' Courts Act 1980), but there is no bar to a future charge for the same offence.

Subjects: Law.

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