Criminal Law Act 1997
Trial of offences.
9.— (1) Where a person is arraigned on an indictment—
( a) he or she shall in all cases be entitled to make a plea of not guilty in addition to any demurrer or special plea;
( b) he or she may plead not guilty of the offence specifically charged in the indictment but guilty of another offence of which he or she might be found guilty on that indictment;
( c) if he or she stands mute of malice or will not answer directly to the indictment, the court shall order a plea of not guilty to be entered on his or her behalf, and he or she shall then be treated as having pleaded not guilty.
(2) If, on an indictment for murder, the evidence does not warrant a conviction for murder but warrants a conviction for any of the following offences—
F7 [ ( a ) manslaughter, or causing serious harm with intent to do so, or ]
( b) any offence of which the accused may be found guilty by virtue of an enactment specifically so providing (including section 7 (3) ), or
( c) an attempt to commit murder, or an attempt to commit any other offence under this section of which the accused might be found guilty, or
( d) an offence under the Criminal Law (Suicide) Act, 1993,
the accused may be found guilty of such offence but may not on that indictment be found guilty of any offence not specified in any of the foregoing paragraphs.
(3) If, on an indictment for murder to which section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1990, applies or for an attempt to commit such murder, the evidence does not warrant a conviction for such murder but warrants a conviction for murder or for any offence mentioned in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d) of subsection (2), the accused may be found guilty of murder or of any offence so mentioned but may not on that indictment be found guilty of any offence not specified in any of the foregoing paragraphs.
(4) Where, on a person's trial on indictment for any offence except treason, murder to which section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1990, applies or murder, the evidence does not warrant a conviction for the offence specifically charged in the indictment, but the allegations in the indictment amount to or include (expressly or by implication) an allegation of another offence, that person may be found guilty of that other offence or of an offence of which he or she could be found guilty on an indictment specifically charging that other offence.
(5) An allegation of an offence to which subsection (4) relates shall be taken as including an allegation of attempting to commit that offence; and where a person is charged on indictment with attempting to commit an offence or with any assault or other act preliminary to an offence, but not with the completed offence, then (subject to the discretion of a court sitting with a jury to discharge the jury with a view to the preferment of an indictment for the completed offence) the accused may be convicted of the offence charged notwithstanding that he or she is shown to be guilty of the completed offence.
(6) Where a person arraigned on an indictment pleads not guilty of an offence charged in the indictment but guilty of some other offence of which the accused might be found guilty on that charge, and he or she is convicted on that plea of guilty without trial for the offence of which the accused has pleaded not guilty, then (whether or not the two offences are separately charged in distinct counts) conviction of the one offence shall be an acquittal of the other.
(7) Where a person charged on an indictment with any offence is convicted of some other offence of which he or she might be found guilty on that charge, conviction of that offence shall be an acquittal of the offence charged.
(8) Subsections (1) to (5) shall apply to an indictment containing more than one count as if each count were a separate indictment.