§ Mr. Bermingham
To ask the Attorney-General whether he will authorise suitably qualified barristers or solicitor agents in appropriate cases in the magistrates' courts to authorise discontinuance or the offering of no evidence where appropriate or to accept pleas to lesser charges; and if he will make a statement.
§ The Attorney-General
The provisions of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 do not allow the Director to delegate powers to discontinue proceedings to barristers or solicitors in private practice instructed on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service.
The withdrawal of cases, or the offering of no evidence where appropriate, or the acceptance of pleas to lesser charges than those originally preferred, are matters upon which barrister and solicitors instructed on behalf of the service are instructed to consult with a CPS officer unless there are compelling and urgent reasons for not doing so.
The policy, practice and procedures of the CPS are kept under a constant review with a view to improving fairness, efficiency and effectiveness. At present there are no plans for the alteration of instructions given to barristers or solicitors instructed on behalf of the service.