HC Deb 27 February 1984 vol 55 cc15-6
39. Mr. Bermingham

asked the Attorney-General what steps have been taken in the last 12 months to reduce the waiting time between committal and trial in criminal cases in the Crown courts; and with what results.

The Attorney-General

The measures taken in the past 12 months include the appointment of additional judges and the provision of additional courtrooms, and improved efficiency. These enabled the Crown court in 1983 to dispose of nearly 10 per cent. more committals for trial than in 1982, against an increase of more than 8 per cent. in the number received, and the average waiting time was reduced from 14.1 weeks in the quarter ending September 1982 to 13.9 weeks in the corresponding quarter of last year.

Mr. Bermingham

I thank the Attorney-General for that reply. Does he not agree that the continuing delays make it all the more important and urgent for consideration to be given to payment of compensation to those who are held in custody pending trial but who are subsequently acquitted?

The Attorney-General

This matter has been under consideration by Governments and those interested in this over many years. I do not think there is anything new that would lead me to alter my mind.