The Section 39 Criminal Justice Act

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The Section 39 Criminal Justice Act
Section 39 of the United Kingdom's Criminal Justice Act of 1988 addresses assaults. (judge image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

The Criminal Justice Act is a collection of laws, regulations, guidelines and procedures for approaching criminal behaviours in the United Kingdom (UK). The act was revised in 1988, 2003, and then changed in 2008 to become the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.

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1988 Section 39

Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act of 1988 addressed assault charges. Assault and battery crimes would be considered "summary offenses" (petty crime) and someone found guilty could face a fine, prison time up to six months or a combination of prison time and a fine.

2003 Section 39

Section 39 in the 2003 Criminal Justice Act addresses "fault in defence disclosure." This basically addresses issues with a defence statement, such is if a defendant fails to give his defence statement, gives one after it is no longer relevant, provides inconsistencies in his defence statement or other related circumstances. This also addresses circumstances such as if the defence calls a witness that was not notified she was a witness in the case and she is not on the witness list.

2008 Section 39

The change to the criminal justice act making it the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act in 2008, saw another change to Section 39. Now, Section 39 deals with "youth default orders." The court issues warrants for minors under the age of 18 who have defaulted on an owed sum of money due to a previous conviction. This addresses possible court options such as requiring the youth to participate in mandatory work, for those aged 16 and 17, imposing a curfew or other punishments for the default.

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