The notice outlines details of the offence, the option to submit your plea and the consequences of failing to respond. The notice should include some evidence from the prosecution, which they will rely upon to prove their case.
The written charge and the Single Justice Procedure Notice must be issued ‘at the same time’ and within 6 months of the offence. The date of the offence is excluded from calculating the 6 month period.
The Single Justice Procedure allows for cases to be dealt with by a single magistrate ‘on the papers’, meaning they will only look at the written charge, the notice itself as well as any mitigation submitted to the court when the notice is returned in a guilty plea is communicated. Neither the prosecution nor any defence advocates are required to attend court for the matter to be dealt with by this procedure although there are exceptions to this outlined below.
When returning the notice to the court, you are able to submit your plea:
- Guilty (I do not wish to come to court) – you accept that you have committed the offence and are willing to accept the penalties imposed by post.
- Guilty (I wish to attend court) – whilst you accept that you have committed the offence, you wish for the matter to be heard at a court hearing where you can attend and present your mitigation to the court.
- Not Guilty – you wish to dispute the allegations against you, and request a trial date to be set to present your defence.