HC Deb 27 October 1993 vol 230 cc657-8W
Mr. John Morris

To ask the Attorney-General how many cases for the last available quarter the Crown prosecution service decided to drop; what proportion were dropped on public interest grounds; and how many on evidential grounds.

The Attorney-General

During the quarter ending June 1993, the CPS discontinued proceedings in respect of 43,997 defendants in magistrates' courts. This total comprises all cases discontinued by the 13 CPS areas, but does not include the specialised casework undertaken by the headquarters of the service.

Reasons for discontinuance are recorded on the files relating to individual defendants, but the information is not collected or collated centrally. The information requested could therefore be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

However, the Home Office has undertaken a research study which provides information about the circumstances in which the CPS terminates cases. An interim report shows that about half the cases terminated were discontinued on evidential grounds (54 per cent.), and just under one third were discontinued on public interest grounds (32 per cent.). The remaining cases could not proceed for various reasons: for example, where the defendant had died or could not be traced.