Regina v McGrath: CACD 2003

The section 51(7) notice stated that the person had been sent for trial to the Crown Court ‘on the following indictable only offence: burglary, aggravated.’ Apart from the misspelling, the point was taken on appeal that the notice did not make clear the nature of the indictable-only offence; the appellant had not been charged with the distinct offence of aggravated burglary; the notice had not followed the wording of the relevant schedule to the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980, which had specified the circumstances in which a burglary would indeed be an indictable-only offence (as the case in point undoubtedly was).
Held: The court recognised a real distinction between the sending of a defendant to the Crown Court and the subsequent notice, an administrative act; completion of the notice could not retrospectively invalidate the sending. Laws LJ: ‘ We would say only that, given the plain unqualified obligation on magistrates’ courts imposed by section 51(1) and the fact that section 51(7) is on any view adjectival to that obligation, we consider that it would be difficult to argue that the very existence of the section 51(1) duty in any case depends on the fulfillment of the section 51(7) duty. That is not to say that a failure to fulfill section 51(7) might not give rise to due process arguments on behalf of a defendant if prejudice or unfairness were occasioned, but nothing of that kind is in reality in play here . . ‘


Laws LJ


[2003] EWCA Crim 2062


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBentham, Regina (on the Application of) v HM Prison Wandsworth Admn 7-Feb-2006
The defendant sought a writ of habeas corpus, saying that he had been wrongfully committed to the crown court under the 1998 Act. The note referred only to a ‘conspiracy without further specification. The crown court had remitted him to the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Magistrates

Updated: 09 February 2022; Ref: scu.238431