Judges in the Crown Court will hear all indictable cases and some triable either way offences. The judge’s first contact with the case will be in pre-trial administrative hearings without a jury. The most important of these will be a plea and case management hearing. In this hearing the defendant will enter a plea. If guilty the judge may proceed to sentencing. If not case management will involve the judge in making decisions about how the case will run such as the calling of the witnesses and the admissibility of evidence such as confession evidence.
If the case proceeds to trial there is a split function between the judge and jury. The judge is the arbiter of law and juries the arbiters of fact. During the trial he will be responsible for deciding points of law as well as managing the court dealing with such issues as challenges to jurors by either side. Perhaps the most important part of the role will be at the end of the evidence when the judge will sum up the case to the jury identifying key issues and explaining points of law such as the burden of proof [that the prosecution must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. If the jury have further questions they can return to court and ask the judge as happened controversially in the case of Vicky Price.
If the defendant is found not guilty they will be discharged by the judge who will if they are found guilty proceed to sentencing. This may follow the judge getting pre-sentencing reports. In sentencing