Most criminal cases are tried in a magistrates’ court by a bench of lay justices or by a legally-qualified district judge. Their sentencing powers are limited. The most serious cases must be tried in the Crown Court by a judge and jury.
If the defendant has admitted guilt or been found guilty, the sentence will be a matter for the court. In serious cases, however, the court may want to know what impact the crime has had on you. The police may ask you for a victim impact statement outlining how the incident affected you. Any comments you make may be referred to in court and the judge may take them into account when passing sentence.
Offenders may seek to appeal to a higher court, both against their convictions and the sentences they receive. All offenders have the right to appeal from the magistrates’ court, although few do. It is much harder to appeal from the Crown Court.