§ Ms. Estelle Morris
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many court cases involving drug smuggling have been initiated by HM Customs and Excise over the last year; how many of these have been thrown out of court due to lack of evidence; and what has been the cost incurred in investigating these rejected cases.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
HM Customs and Excise do not keep this type of record by case, but by reference to defendants: there may be several defendants in any case. In the year 1993–94 HM Customs and Excise prosecuted 1,457 defendants for drug offences; 16 of these were discharged on committal and a further 25, although6W committed for trial, were the subject of successful defence submissions and did not go before a jury.
Information on costs in investigating the rejected cases is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.