No case to answer – submissions at ‘half time’

A ‘no case to answer’ submission is a legal argument put to the Court at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case. 

The submission cannot be used in every case because it is reliant on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, or rather the lack of it.  If it can be used, however, the results it can achieve are extremely beneficial to a defendant because, when successful, it means that the case effectively stops without the need for the defendant to call any evidence at all.

The case of R v Galbraith set out the test for the court to consider when hearing an application for ‘no case to answer’, and it remains good law today.

The case says that such a submission should certainly be allowed when there is no evidence that a crime has been committed by the defendant.

There is, however, a second limb to the test for use in cases where there is some evidence before the court, but it is of a tenuous or inconsistent nature.  In those circumstances, the Judge has to consider whether the evidence, taken at its highest, is such that a jury properly directed could not properly convict upon it.  If the answer is yes, then the case should stop.  If not then, broadly speaking, the case should proceed, and any evidence that the defence wish to put forward should be heard.

These arguments are complex in their nature and not suitable for every case, but making them successfully can be highly beneficial to the person standing trial, as we are all too aware of the anxiety and stress that can be placed upon defendants when faced with the possibility of giving evidence at trial.

Our Criminal Defence team is therefore always alert to occasions when these arguments and others that might help resolve a case can be used at an early stage after a not-guilty plea.  Daniel Martin at our Staines office and Amy French at our High Wycombe office have both produced exceptional results recently by making successful submissions of ‘no case to answer’ at trial.

If you have been arrested or charged with an offence of any kind, you can contact our Criminal Defence team by e-mail at enquiries@blasermills.co.uk or, if you require urgent assistance outside office hours, by calling our emergency number: 07876 687 587