I have received a postal requisition – what should I do?
Since the change in the rules relating to police bail a postal requisition has, in many cases, replaced a formal police charge in bringing a defendant to court.
What is a postal requisition?
A postal requisition is a summons to court, telling a defendant what they have been charged with. It will also contain the date and time that you must attend a particular Magistrates’ Court.
They will be used in cases where the police do not seek bail conditions. They will be appropriate where there is no language or communication problems and there is a known fixed address for the defendant.
When will I receive one?
Although a postal requisition will be used in motoring offences in a similar way that a summons would have been issued, they are also used for a wide range of criminal offences including the most serious.
As a result, if you have been interviewed by the police as either a volunteer or while under arrest and been released under investigation the first thing you hear about the outcome of the investigation might be the postal requisition.
Unfortunately, the timing of the requisition will be hard to predict. It could be received within weeks of a police interview, or months afterwards.
What happens if I don’t attend court?
If you fail to attend court in answer to the postal requisition then it is likely that a warrant without bail will be issued for your immediate arrest. This means that the police will arrest and detain you at a police station in order to bring you before the next available sitting Magistrates’ Court. This could be on a Saturday or Bank Holiday and you could spend many hours in custody.
Bearing in mind the possible delay in sending the requisition it is extremely important that you check your post regularly and keep the police informed of any change of address to avoid an unnecessary arrest.
If we have provided you with free and independent legal advice in your police interview then we will make regular contact with the police to ensure that you know what is happening with the investigation. We will be able to keep the police informed on your behalf of any changes of address. We will also be able to tell you when the investigation has been concluded and if you are likely to have to go to court.
Even if we have not advised you in interview, please feel free to contact us afterwards. We will be able to advise you on the likelihood of further interviews, and provide the same service to you as we would to those who we represented in interview.
What should I do if I receive a postal requisition?
Hopefully you will have already taken advantage of our free and independent legal advice at the police station so in those circumstances simply contact the lawyer at this firm who dealt with your case.
We will be able to provide you with advice as to the availability of criminal legal aid or discuss private funding with you. We will also be able to make a request for the papers in your case prior to the first hearing and begin to take instructions and advise you as to plea.
This will ensure that you have representation at this all important first hearing and will have investigated any defence that you might wish to put forward.