The courts and mental health

What does ‘unfit to plead’ mean?

If you cannot understand the meaning of the charge against you, what the pleas of ‘guilty’ and ‘not guilty’ mean, or cannot instruct a lawyer to represent you, the court may take medical evidence to find out whether you are unfit to plead.

What happens if the Magistrates’ Court decides that I’m unfit to plead?

If the magistrates decided that you were unfit to plead, it could give you a hospital order under section 37 (but not 37/41) without having a trial.

What happens if the Crown Court decides that I’m unfit to plead?

If the Crown Court decided that you were unfit to plead, it would do a trial of the facts and decide whether you did the crime. If it decides you didn’t do the crime, it will acquit you.

If it decides you did do the crime, the court can:

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