Acquittal in United Kingdom

Acquittal in the Business Encyclopaedia and Legal Adviser

Based on the Business Encyclopaedia and Legal Adviser , by W.S.M. Knight, Barrister –at – Law.

Acquittal – In the case of a verdict of not guilty; or of a successful plea of pardon; or of a successful plea of autrefois convict or acquit; the person charged is entitled to his discharge. Such discharge is an acquittal, and if the charge is one of felony, frees him for ever from the same accusation. It is applied also, but not so correctly, to cases of discharge upon failure of prosecution on questions of law. On acquittal, the amused seems to be entitled to a copy of the indictment. If he is acquitted merely upon some formal defect in the proceedings, so that the acquittal could not be pleaded in bar of another indictment for the same offence, he may be detained in custody and put on his trial again. Acquittal on the ground of insanity at the time of the commission of the offence entails being kept in custody until the king’s pleasure is known; and the king may order confinement during his pleasure. Before a court of summary jurisdiction, as in a police court, acquittal is by means of an order for the accuser’s discharge. Where the charge is one of common assault instituted by or on behalf of the person assaulted, the person charged, on a dismissal of the charge on its merits, is entitled to a certificate therefore. This certificate, when put in evidence, would be a complete defence to any proceedings against him in a civil court for damages for the assault; the person assaulted having had the right to elect whether he would proceed in a police court for the accuser’s punishment, or proceed against him civilly for damages. It is also a bar to further criminal proceedings. The plea of previous acquittal is technically known as autrefois acquit.

Acquittal Meaning

Acquittal in Scottish Law

A verdict of a jury or a decision of a judge that an accused is not guilty or a case is not proven.

Definition of Acquittal

In accordance with the work A Dictionary of Law, this is a description of Acquittal :

A decision by a court that a defendant accused of a crime is innocent. A court must acquit a defendant following a verdict of *not guilty or a successful plea of *autrefois acquit or *autrefois convict. Once acquitted, a defendant cannot be retried for the same crime on fresh evidence, but an acquittal in a criminal court does not bind civil courts (for example, in relation to a libel charge against someone alleging the defendant’s guilt).

Definition of Acquittal

This is in effect the result of the jury’s decision to find the defendant ‘not guilty’.



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