6_Courts System, Verdicts and Sentencing

Social Issues in the United
6_Courts System, Verdicts and Sentencing
CONNECT: Hangman
You know what it is!
Learning Intentions:
Be able to name the different courts, and give examples of why you
might appear there
Be able to name the two types of court procedure
Be able to explain the different verdicts the court can hand out and be
able to explain why they might be used
Be able to give different examples of sentences and explain why the UK
no longer has the death penalty
Be able to present arguments for and against the death penalty
All courts in Scotland are organised by the Scottish Court Service
(SCS), which is led by the Scottish Government.
If a case is tried under criminal law the Scottish Government accuses
them of breaking a law of Scotland.
If a case is civil it involves a dispute between individuals or
There are four types of court in Scotland, were you appear will depend
on the seriousness of the offence that you are accused of.
When someone is accused of a crime, the police submit the evidence
to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, who decide
whether or not to prosecute.
There are two types of court procedure. A solemn procedure means
jury of 15 members of the public listen to the evidence and decide on
the verdict. A judge will also be present and will decide what sentence
the person will receive. A summary procedure is when a trial is held in
Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Courts before a judge without a jury
Using post-its create top and tails exercise on each of the following areas:
*Criminal law
*Civil law
*Decision to prosecute
*Solemn Court Procedure
*Summary Court Procedure
For example:
a solemn procedure
a jury of 15
members of the
public listen to the
evidence and decide
on the verdict
High Court of Judiciary
The high court is the supreme criminal court in Scotland and it deals with
the most serious crimes, such as murder (homicide), culpable homicide,
rape, armed robbery, treason and serious sexual offences, particularly those
involving children.
Sentencing powers:
*Life (between 15 & 35 years)
*Unlimited fine
*Prior to 1965 they could have given the death sentence
The Sherriff Court
Currently 49 in Scotland, by this is to be reduced to 39 by January
Only 21 of these will deal with solemn cases
Glasgow Sherriff Court deals with the highest number of cases in
Scotland. They hear both civil and criminal cases and use solemn and
summary procedures.
Deals with crimes such as theft, assault, soliciting, possession of drugs
and appeals from a Children’s Hearing.
Under Solemn procedure, sheriffs can issue sentences of up to 5 years
in prison or an unlimited fine
Under Summary procedure, a sheriff can fine someone up to £10,000
or 12 months in prison
Can also issue non-custodial sentences
Types of civil case they deal with are, separation, divorce, dissolution of
civil partnership, adoption or custody.
Justice of the Peace Courts
Replace District Courts in 2007
Lay court, can be carried out anywhere
Justice of the Peace presides with the support of a legally qualified
Deal with minor offences, drunk and disorderly, traffic offences.
Court of Session
Scotland’s supreme civil court and it sits in Edinburgh. It can be used
as a court of appeal and is headed by a Lord President. This court
recently rejected an appeal brought by the Scotch Whisky Association
and other wine and spirits producers against the Scottish
Governments new alcohol minimum pricing legislation.
Use Tarsia grid to create
question and answers for the 4
different types of court in
3 possible Verdicts
Not Guilty – based on the evidence the accused did not commit any
crime and is free to go
Guilty – Based on the evidence the accused committed a crime
‘beyond any reasonable doubt’
Not proven – There is suspicion of guilt but not enough evidence to
convict – the accused is free to go
Why do you think the not proven
verdict is controversial?
Use the laptops to come up with arguments for and against the
not proven verdict in Scotland.
Links to Not Proven Verdict Info.
Allows judges and juries to show
when they are suspicious but not
certain if someone is guilty
Evidence suggests guilt
Permanent record for an
innocent person
Continues to be used in Scottish
Upsetting for victims if not found
It may be better for victims than
an innocent verdict
Confusing and pointless
Juries can be unfairly influenced
Arguments for and against NOT
PROVEN verdict
Custodial Sentencing
People accused of serious crimes may be sent to prison to await their trial.
This is called being on remand.
If a person is found guilt of a serious crime they may be taken into custody.
This means they may be forced to spend time in a prison or a young
offender’s institution run by the Scottish Prison Service.
At present anyone convicted of a murder automatically receives a life
sentence, with guidance to judges to impose a minimum 16 year
punishment on those who kill with a knife.
If prisoners are well behaved, they may be given parole and released early
or be given a non-custodial sentence for the remainder of their time.
Using the information above explain, in your own words what a
custodial sentence is.
Non Custodial sentences are
sentences which do not require
custody (prison.)
It costs around £331m a year to run
the SPS. The average cost per
prisoner in 2010-11 was £32,146.
64% of those released are reconvicted within 2 years.
Non-Custodial Sentencing
Fine / compensation: Offenders must pay money, perhaps to the victim
Fixed Penalty Notice: On-the-spot fines issued by the police for low-level crimes
such as littering
Supervised Attendance Order – Alternative to prison for those who cannot pay
Probation: Supervision for 6 months to 3 years, which may be combined with
rehabilitation programmes
Community Service Order: Requirement to carry out up to 300 hours of unpaid
work in the community
Restriction of Liberty Order: Offenders are given a curfew and their movements are
restricted for 12 hours a day. Offenders must wear a transmitter that alerts the police
if they violate their agreed conditions
Drug Treatment and testing Order: This is a rehabilitation-based sentence during
which people are subjected to random drug testing and court reviews to monitor their
withdrawal from drugs
Home detention curfew: Offenders must be in an agreed address by a certain time
each day and if the curfew is broken they may be sent to prison
Community Reparation Order: Offenders must complete up to 100 hours of
unpaid work in the community
Antisocial Behaviour Order: This bans someone (over the age of 12) from causing
disruption with the behaviour. Graffiti, noise pollution and littering. Broken ASBOs can
lead up to fines or up to 5 years in prison.
Use information from previous slide
to create notes using post-its. Term
on front and explanation on back.
Current methods of execution are
reliable, quick and painless
If a person takes someone’s life
they deserve to die
It acts as a deterrent to those who
may commit serious crimes
Some murderers are incapable of
being rehabilitated
It costs the Scottish Government
up to £40,000 per year to
imprison one person. Life could
mean 35 years which is £140,000.
This money could be spend
improving health care
There have been instances where
lethal injection has been slow and
Life in prison causes more suffering
It does not act as a deterrent, the
US state of Texas currently uses
the death penalty and executed 15
people by lethal injection in 2012
It goes against basic human rights
Guilty verdicts can be wrong.
Innocent people may be executed.
Death Penalty
Guardian News: Further Reading
The state tried to kill Lockett, a convicted rapist and murderer, on 29 April for 16
minutes before drawing the blinds to the public witnesses. Before the blinds were
drawn, Lockett writhed, groaned and tried to speak. Officials said he died of a heart
attack 43 minutes after the execution started, while an autopsy conducted in Texas
concluded he died from “judicial execution by lethal injection.” Before that, the
process of finding a vein had taken nearly an hour.