The court process can end in different ways. Many protest cases do not get as far as sentencing, and it is extremely rare to get a prison sentence.
If you are charged with a criminal offence, there are four possible outcomes:
1. The CPS may drop the case against you altogether – this can happen at any stage of the proceedings, even on the day of the trial itself.
2. The judge or magistrate may throw the case out. Again this can happen at any stage, but most frequently would be during the trial, for example if the police did not turn up to give evidence, or the judge thought your defence case was strong enough by halfway through the trial.
3. The trial may proceed to its end and you may be found not guilty of the alleged offence.
4. You may decide to plead guilty or you may be found guilty at the end of the trial. There will then be a sentence given to you. Sometimes this will happen at the end of the trial itself, but often it does not. If you are possibly facing time in prison, the judge will ask the Probation Service for a ‘Pre-Sentence Report’ (PSR), and a further date will be set for sentencing. You may then decide to appeal against the verdict or the sentence. In that case, the legal procedure, will continue.
If you wish to appeal your sentence: either speak to your solicitor or, if you are self-representing, contact Activist Court Aid Brigade.