Criminal law: Crown Court conviction rate falls below 80%
A study carried out the by BBC which considered data gathered from the Crown Prosecution Service has found that Crown Court conviction rates have fallen below 80% for the period 2014-15. An explanation being that in the same period more than 12,600 cases were discontinued, an increase of nearly 1,700 on the previous year and equal to one in every eight Crown Court cases.
BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw found that in 70% of the dropped prosecutions, the CPS offered 'no evidence' (as opposed to proceedings being discontinued prior to arraignment). Thus meaning that the CPS’s decision to drop the proceedings came at a late stage of the proceedings. Danny Shaw added that the figures were “likely to fuel claims that the criminal justice pendulum has swung too far in favour of victims and away from the accused".
A CPS spokesman stated that “All cases are kept under constant review as they progress through the criminal justice system” and added that ""If new evidence comes to light, a witness decides to no longer support a prosecution or a co-defendant pleads guilty to the offence, the CPS will then review the case.
"If there is no longer sufficient evidence or if it is no longer in the public interest, the CPS will stop a prosecution."
In 2014-15 the CPS offered no evidence in 8.8% per cent of cases. This compares to 8.3% the previous year and 9.4% the year before that."
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