It is my understanding that if a defendant in a criminal case in the Crown Court decides to represent themselves, and further decides to give evidence personally, the judge in the trial puts questions to them before they are cross-examined by the prosecution.

If my understanding is correct, how does the judge decide what questions to ask the defendant? Does the defendant provide a rough line of questioning, a specific list of questions, or is it completely up to the judge? Is there any guidance or precedent which governs how a judge should proceed in these circumstances?

1 Answer 1


As in the magistrates court, it's the unrepresented defendent's responsibility to present their evidence and then be cross-examined on it - just as any other witness would. Many defendents are inexperienced in doing this in a way that is easy for everybody to follow, includes salient information, progresses in a logical order etc. Therefore the magistrates, their legal advisor, or in the Crown Court the judge, can assist (but not lead) the defendent to present their evidence to the highest standard possible. Generally that process is through clarifying questions.

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