HC Deb 10 April 1981 vol 2 c375W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Attorney-General if, following the suggestion of the Lord Chancellor to the Home Affairs Committee on 23 March, he will consider the question of nolle prosequi for all those currently on remand in custody for periods in excess of four months.

The Attorney-General

As the Lord Chancellor indicated in his evidence to the Home Affairs Committee, I have the power to enter a nolle prosequi so as to stay any proceedings on indictment after the bill of indictment has been preferred. I shall always give careful consideration to any application made to me to exercise that power in any particular case. I share the hon. Member's concern over those unfortunate cases where a defendant spends an inordinate length of time in custody awaiting his trial, but delays in bringing cases before the court are not infrequently attributable to the defendant himself, who, for one reason or another, seeks to have its date postponed. Because of the number and variety of reasons for these delays, I must examine each application on its own merits and this I shall continue to do in respect of specific cases that are brought to my attention.