All serious criminal matters on the Isle of Man are heard in the Court of General Gaol Delivery. The court deals with all criminal matters where the defendants have been referred by the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction (commonly referred to as Summary Court) for trial or sentence.
Why has my case been sent from the Summary Court to the Court of General Gaol Delivery?
If your case has been sent from the Summary Court to the Court of General Gaol Delivery it will usually be because:
of the seriousness of the offence; or
the Summary Court does not have adequate sentencing powers for that offence.
Do I need an advocate?
It is highly recommended that you seek an advocate to represent you in the Court of General Gaol Delivery. Court staff cannot give you any legal advice nor tell you what you need to do.
My case is now being heard by the Court of General Gaol Delivery, am I going to get bail?
Your advocate may make an application for bail on your behalf to the court, and to the Attorney General. The matter will then be listed for a bail application hearing where the Deemster will decide if you will get bail or not.
What is bail?
Bail is an undertaking made to the court, with a security of either cash or property to secure the release of a defendant who would otherwise be remanded in custody. If granted bail a defendant signs a bail bond with certain conditions attached which the defendant must abide by until his/her case is completed. Breaching any of the bail conditions could result in the defendant’s bail being revoked and the defendant being remanded in custody. In addition, the defendant and his/her surety may be ordered to forfeit all or some part of the security they gave.
What conditions will be attached to my bail if I get it?
If you are granted bail, it will be subject to certain conditions.
Standard conditions are:
to appear at court as and when required
not to depart the Isle of Man without the leave of the court
to reside at a designated address
own recognizance in the sum of an amount specified by the court.
Additional conditions which may be imposed are:
a curfew with or without a doorstep condition
restrictions on approaching witnesses for the prosecution
surrendering your passport
restrictions on entering on licensed premises
regular reporting to a police station
surety/sureties in the sum of an amount specified by the court
any other conditions may be included according to the circumstances.
Can the conditions of my bail be changed?
You can ask the court to vary the conditions of your bail. To do this you must submit an application to the court with a copy to the Prosecution for variation of bail. Your advocate will be able to advise you further about applying to vary bail. If not opposed by the Prosecution bail variations are dealt with administratively by the court. If opposed the matter is listed for hearing.
What happens if I breach my bail conditions?
If you breach your bail conditions, you will be arrested and the matter will be brought before the court . Your surety will also be notified. The Deemster will consider the breach and decide to either continue your bail or remand you in custody. The court may also order you or your surety to forfeit all or some part of the security given.
How do I defend my case if I plead not guilty?
Your advocate will advise you about the defence of your case, including submitting documents and gathering evidence, will be the responsibility of your advocate. If you are unrepresented, please note that the court staff cannot give you legal advice or answer questions like "Will I win my case?", "What evidence do I need?" You should seek legal advice from an advocate.
What if I can't afford an advocate?
If you are entitled, your advocate will apply to the court for legal aid on your behalf to cover court costs if you are not able to pay for them yourself.
What happens if I plead guilty to the offence I am charged with?
If you decide to plead guilty to the offence you are charged with, the case will be adjourned for sentence.
What punishment am I likely to get?
If you have been found guilty, or have pleaded guilty, you will be required to attend a sentencing hearing. Depending on the crime of which you have been convicted, you will either receive a custodial or a non-custodial sentence. Your advocate will be able to advise you on the sentencing options available to the court.
Can I appeal the decision and/or the sentence imposed on me?
If you wish to appeal against your conviction, or the length of your sentence, then you would need to lodge an appeal to the Staff of Government Division. You would be advised to seek legal advice.