Trial of the Facts

Hi all- we have a pt who was found not guilty following a trial of the facts, of a very serious offence. I am aware that should he have been found guilty there would have been consideration for another court hearing at the point he was felt fit to plead and withstand the rigours of a trial etc.

My question is- is there a similar process that gets triggered if he becomes well enough to go to court now, or is in effect the matter already dealt with following the not guilty verdict.

He is currently under a S3, a S37/41 would be nice…

My understanding is that if someone if found unfit to plead and a trial of facts finds the act not to have been committed they can be acquitted. It is not a case of whether they become well enough, that is only if they are found to have done the act.

The outcomes of a trial of the facts are not ‘guilty’ and ‘not guilty’, as the mens rea element of the crime is not examined. There is a decision about whether the actus reus is proven. If it is not considered to be by the jury, then there is no further legal proceeding.

Im not sure the patient would agree about a s37/41 being nice!

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This person can be brought back before the court if he recovers capacity and is deemed able to withstand the pressures of a trial. It has happened to several people I have become aware of in the last six months who have been brought up on this forum. The Criminally Insane Fitness to Plead Act 1991 gives the court the opportunity to establish whether the person “did the act” or not on a finding of facts. The disposals after that has been established are usually s.37/41 or s.37 (if the crime was not considered severe enough to warrant the conditions). s.37 Guardianship is technically another option, though probably extremely rare. But I am sure there may be other options available of which I am not aware.

@NeilSanyal I think this may only be true if convicted under CPIA.

Edit: Conviction or Medical Disposal. Either way - if AR can’t be proven via a Trial of the Facts then I can’t imagine the patient would later be retried to go over both the MR & AR.

A finding of proven actus reus is not a conviction. It is a medical disposal. If the patient becomes fit then the trial will resume and might then result in a conviction.

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Thank you Philip. That is exactly what I was trying to say. Conviction only happens at a proper trial and the CIFTP 1991 act was drafted to deal with mentally incapacitated offenders. nearly 30 years ago I was involved with a case in my role as the allocated social worker, and followed it right through to the disposal at the end. That is how I know all about it.

This is very relevant to me for a case going back to trial after 8 years - if someone has been in secure services for all that time (8 years) under 37/41 are they likely to be “convicted” when the trial of facts confirmed 8 years ago that they “did the deed”? Surely the 8 years already having been deprived of liberty will count? I’m being optimistic that an outcome could be a discharge as, if the individual had gone to prison instead of being sectioned they are likely to have been released some time ago?