§ Lord GORDON-WALKER
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will give the proportion of acquittals in contested cases before magistrates' courts and the Crown Court in respect of offences which can now be tried at the Crown Court but which under the Criminal Law Bill now before this House would be triable solely before magistrates' courts.
§ Lord HARRIS of GREENWICH
We have been able very recently to extract from the Criminal Statistics the following 615WA information on acquittal rates in this category. The information in the Criminal Statistics generally, and therefore in the following table, is recorded on the "principal offence" basis as defined in Chapter 1 of Criminal Statistics 1975 (Cmnd. 6566). This means that where one person pleads not guilty to several charges in one set of proceedings and is acquitted on all, the outcome is recorded against the principal offence only, but that if he is convicted on one or more charges and acquitted on others the principal offence on which he is convicted is recorded. As separate figures are not available for thefts of £20 or less or for criminal damage of £100 or less, some other available information about offences under the two relevant Acts has been included.