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A criminal court requires a prosecution to bring forward evidence against the defendant. The defendant may file a submission for no case to answer, if the prosecution fails to produce evidence of their guilt. The upshot of a successful application is the end of the trial with the complete release of the defendant without charge.
Court Proceedings before the Submission
If the judge is of the opinion the prosecution has a strong case against the defendant, they can allow the jury to consider the case. After the prosecution has put forward the case, it is the turn of the defence. The jury members make an assessment after hearing both sides and present the verdict.
If the members of the jury cannot declare a clear verdict based on the evidence presented by the prosecution, the judge will direct the counsel for the prosecution to close the case. It is important to note that the judge does not base their assessment merely on the evidence provided by the witnesses for both sides. They will focus on the motives of the defendant as well. This course of action allows two purposes. It grants power to the judge and enables them to use their discretion. At the same time, it does not allow the judge to sway the jury.
The Application Procedure
The defendant may file the application for no case to answer after the prosecution closes the case. The judge directs the jury members to leave the courtroom before the submission to avoid influencing them. If the judge rejects the application, they will make no mention of the submission to the jury before then dismissing them.
Examination of the Submission
The counsel for the defence makes the submission. The judge grants permission to the prosecution counsel to respond. They will reject any arguments tendered by the prosecution, which the judge finds invalid or untrue. Otherwise, the judge will declare the submission successful.
The judge directs the jury to enter the courtroom. They will explain their decision to them and asks them to appoint an individual to speak on their behalf. The individual confers with the other members of the jury and declares a verdict of guilty or not guilty, which the court clerk notes down in the court records. If the jury reaches the decision of no guilty on some counts and not on the full case, the judge advises them to disregard the counts for which there can be no clear verdict.