In the Media

Hundreds of criminal cases thrown out of court due to Crown Prosecution Service delays

PUBLISHED November 30, 2009

Up to 4,000 suspects have failed to appear before magistrates because the Crown Prosecution Service did not get their files ready in time according to figures obtained by the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 4,000, almost 100 were thought to be alleged sex attackers and 700 cases involved violent attacks, according to the figures, which relate to the past three years in England and Wales.

Magistrates had no option but to reject CPS calls for repeated adjournments and throw out the cases when the paperwork did not materialise.

In London alone in the past year suspects in 61 violent attacks, seven sex offences, 25 drug offences and 18 burglaries went free without their case being heard.
Across England and Wales the picture was made worse by witnesses not attending court and police failures to get paperwork to the CPS in 13,000 cases from 2006 to 2009.

Shadow attorney general Edward Garnier told the paper: ?These figures are shocking and will only provide yet further grounds for the public's lack of confidence in the criminal justice system under Labour.?

he CPS said that the figures, which have been obtained by the Sunday Express, represented only a fifth of a per cent of the total number of criminal cases dealt with in the courts.

A spokesman for the CPS said: ?These cases represent less than a fifth of 1 per cent of over one million prosecutions brought by the CPS in 2008-09.