Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Either-way Offences

    Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many defendants charged with either-way offences consented to trial in magistrates court and pleaded not guilty in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [19730]

    (2) how many defendants charged with either-way offences (a) elected for trial by jury and (b) were directed by magistrates to the Crown court in each year since 1987; [19729]

    (3) what was the average period (a) between committal to start of trial in Crown courts and (b) from first appearance or mode of trial decision to verdict in magistrates courts for cases triable either-way which were contested in each year since 1987; [19731]

    (4) how many (a) contested cases, (b) convictions after trial and (c) acquittals there were in (i) magistrates courts and (ii) Crown courts in each year since 1987; [19728]

    (5) how many (a) either-way and (b) other cases were committed to Crown court for sentence after trial in a magistrates court in each year since 1999. [19558]

    Mr. Keith Bradley: Information collected centrally by the Home Department does not include information on the number of defendants charged with triable either-way offences who consented to trial in a magistrates court, nor does it contain details on defendants‘ plea at magistrates courts (nor, therefore, data on the number of contested cases), nor information on whether defendants elect Crown court trial or are directed there.

    I am informed by the Lord Chancellor‘s Department that the average time by stage of proceedings for triable either-way cases is not available centrally.

    The available information is contained in Tables A and B. Table A provides figures on the number of defendants who pleaded “not guilty” for the principal offence at Crown court, who were either convicted or acquitted in England and Wales, for the years 1995 to 2000. Plea data at the Crown court were not collected centrally by this Department before 1996.

    Table B shows the numbers of defendants who were committed for sentence at the Crown court for triable either-way offences and all other offences for England and Wales, for the years 1999 and 2000.

    Table A(22): Number of defendants who pleaded “Not guilty”(23) at the Crown court, who were either convicted or acquitted(24) for all offences, England and Wales 1996 to 2000

    1996

    1997

    1998

    1999

    2000

    Number of defendants who pleaded not guilty

    28,434

    29,272

    30,195

    29,802

    30,500

    Number of defendants who pleaded not guilty who were convicted

    11,869

    11,592

    10,807

    10,226

    9,864

    Number of defendants who pleaded not guilty who were acquitted

    14,894

    15,843

    17,563

    17,829

    18,955

    (22) Table excludes the figures of those defendants who pleaded “not guilty” who were not tried (ie bench warrants issued, indictment to lie on file, unfit to plead, defendant died etc).

    (23) Not guilty plea to the principal offence.

    (24) Acquitted–includes not guilty, no evidence offered, charge withdrawn, judge rules no case to answer.

    Table B: Number of triable either-way cases and all other cases(25) that were committed for sentence to the Crown court after trial in a magistrates court, England and Wales 1999 and 2000

    Defendants committed for sentence

    Offence type

    1999

    2000

    Triable either-way

    19,324

    16,445

    Others

    1,093

    851

    Total

    20,417

    17,296

    (25) Indictable only and summary offences

    5 Dec 2001 : Column: 339-340W

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