Criminal proceedings are usually conducted in the magistrates’ court. The maximum penalty is a fine of £5000 and/or six months in prison. The accused has a right to elect trial by jury in the Crown Court which can fine up to any amount and/or send to prison for up to two years.
Magistrates have the power to order compensation for personal injury, loss or damage resulting from an offence. If compensation is awarded, it is deducted from any damages awarded in civil proceedings.
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