§ Phyllis Starkey
To ask the Solicitor General if she will make a statement on the proportion of prosecutions abandoned before trial in the last year. 451W
§ The Solicitor-General
During the year ending June 2002, 20 per cent. of all magistrates' courts proceedings handled by the Crown Prosecution Service were abandoned before trial, together with a further 17.4 per cent. of all proceedings in the Crown Court.
These figures include several distinct types of outcome. The magistrates' courts figure comprises of discontinuances; cases in which the defendant agreed to be bound over without a trial taking place; and cases which could not proceed because the defendant could not be traced by the police, or had died, or was found unfit to plead.
The Crown Court figure comprises of cases dropped before a jury was sworn, resulting in a formal verdict of an ordered acquittal; bind overs; and, again, cases which could not proceed because the defendant could not be traced, or had died or been found unfit to plead.