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Circuit Court - criminal business

The Circuit Court has jurisdiction to try all indictable offences, with the exception of those (such as murder, treason and piracy) reserved exclusively for trial before the Central Criminal Court.

Cases to be tried before the Circuit Court are initially returned before the District Court and, when ready to be sent forward for trial, are returned by that court to the Circuit Court for trial.

A defendant who pleads guilty in the District Court to an offence triable on indictment may, depending on the nature of the offence and provided certain conditions are met, be sent forward to the Circuit Court for sentence. Sentencing is done by the judge alone.

The trial of an offence tried in the Circuit Criminal Court is conducted before a judge and jury, on a document known as the indictment (often also called the 'bill of indictment'), which is a technical document specifying the name of the accused, the court of trial, the offences which the accused is charged and particulars of the offence.

The Circuit Court’s territorial jurisdiction is exercised in circuits. Generally, a case is triable in the circuit in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, the accused was arrested or in which the accused person was arrested or resides.

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