A criminal prosecution is where criminal proceedings are taken against individuals who have been accused of a particular offence. The charge will then be formally laid before the Crown Court at a date known as a committal hearing.
The committal hearing will be the first opportunity for the prosecutor to make their opening statement to the court and question the accused’s witnesses. It is at this point that the prosecuting attorney will be able to make their case to the judge to have the accused brought before the judge and formally arrested.
This can take many forms, ranging from a police officer acting on behalf of the prosecutor (known as a police officer of the Crown Prosecution Service), to a court clerk or bail solicitor. In a criminal prosecution the accused must be formally arrested by a constable or a police officer and will then be brought before the judge at the committal hearing. It is at this stage that the judge will be able to rule on any evidence the police officer or court clerk may present against the accused.
The court will only proceed with a criminal prosecution, if it feels that there is enough evidence to show the accused has committed the criminal offence. If the judge rules the accused guilty then the case will be proceeded with and the judge will either set a date for sentencing or remand the accused back to custody until the end of the case.
In a civil case Proctered also means that the party in question are formally asked to hand over any evidence they may have gathered in order to the plaintiff (also known as the prosecutor). In many cases where this has been completed a date can be fixed for the plaintiff to provide this evidence (in most cases this is arranged in advance of the committal hearing). At this point it can be said that the case has come to court and that the accused have either been prosecuted or have been Proctered.
There are two exceptions to this, the first being that if the Procterer or the Proctor (a private investigator) gathers evidence without the knowledge and consent of the defendant. This could mean that the Proctor was employed by the defendant himself or herself to obtain evidence, but can also involve obtaining evidence in some cases without the defendant’s knowledge. However, if the Proctor is the plaintiff’s lawyer it is expected that they will inform their client before the case starts, either through the Proctor’s solicitors, the Proctor themselves, or both, and give them time to prepare their case.
The second exception to Proctering occurs in instances where the Proctor or the Private Investigator has obtained private evidence and presented it in court with the defendant’s consent and knowledge. The Proctor then presents this information in court in an attempt to prove the guilt of the accused to the court.
The Proctor will usually make his presentation in court in front of a judge or jury, and it is likely that he will use a number of different tactics in order to achieve the aim of the presentation. At this stage it may be said that the Proctor has ‘proctered’ the accused and it may not be possible to know which angle he has taken.
In addition to presenting evidence through his private evidence Proctor will also use his own tactics in trying to establish guilt. This could be to call witnesses to try and confuse the jury or to claim that the evidence will prove that the accused had no reasonable doubt about the accused’s guilt. If it can be shown that the Proctor had made an effort to confuse the jury then it is likely that the Proctor has been Proctered.
If the Proctor was a police officer or other legal officer that had collected evidence and presented this evidence in court, the prosecution has to prove this as well. Therefore it is important to have all relevant evidence ready to present at this stage of the proceedings.
It is important to have all necessary paperwork at hand before the committal hearing, and it is also very important to have your own notes of all the evidence that you were able to gather before commencing the proceedings. At this stage it is essential to make sure that you are aware of all of the evidence that you gathered and that you are prepared to take all relevant steps in order to present evidence.