What Is Meant by a Summary Trial?

A summary trial is a trial conducted with the judge sitting alone, which means that no jury is present. This trial is held to establish whether the underlying case is eligible for trial by jury.

Depending on the gravity of a crime committed, the suspect may be eligible for a hearing under a summary trial, where the fate of the underlying case is determined. Unlike trial by jury, the judge sits alone and is solely responsible for evaluating the genuineness and strength of the evidence presented before the court.

The prosecution uses this opportunity to prove the genuineness and strength of the case. The defendant too has a right to legal representation, and a chance to refute the evidence and present evidence that supports his statement. However, argument is restricted to material evidence and affidavits since witnesses testimonials are not considered.

During this trial, the court considers aspects such as the complexity of the case, the amount involved (if any), the strength of the evidence presented before the court and the cost and worth of proceeding to trial by jury. However, the strength of the evidence overshadows other factors as the judge can make a ruling based solely on this.