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UK drops plan to allow online guilty pleas for minor crimes

UK drops plan to allow online guilty pleas for minor crimes
From Engadget - April 21, 2017

The online conviction service was intended for minor, non-imprisonable offenses that have a pre-determined penalty, such as rail and tram fare evasion or fishing without the appropriate licence. Instead of having to appear in court, the idea was defendants could choose to plead guilty and then immediately pay the associated fines, legal costs and any other compensation, all from the relative comfort of their home computer. If all went well, the government was also considering extending the online option to similar cut-and-dry cases like certain driving offenses.

The plan was not entirely without opposition. Some responses to a consultation on the measure argued it could jeopardise the right to a fair trial, though if was not going to be mandatory, and defendants would have been able to challenge the case in court if they chose. The government, on the other hand, expected an online conviction system to lighten the burden on courts, giving them more time and resources to spend judging cases of greater intricacy.

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