HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 c181W
Mr. Hilary Benn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in what percentage of cases where a defendant has opted for trial by jury the defendant has subsequently pleaded guilty before the case was heard for each year since 1980; [99403]

(2) for each year since 1980, in respect of defendants who have opted for trial by jury and then changed their plea to guilty before the case was heard, what percentage of such defendants had no previous criminal conviction. [99405]

Mr. Charles Clarke

Statistics on pleas in the Crown Court are collected centrally, but they do not record whether the defendant elected for trial or was directed by magistrates. However, there is some information available from the baseline data collected by the Home Office in 1998 for the evaluation of the pilot schemes to reduce delay in the criminal justice system. In a sample of nearly 1,000 cases in the six pilot areas, about 60 per cent. of those who elected for the Crown Court pleaded guilty before the trial started.

Separate Home Office research conducted in 1989-90 suggested that nearly 90 per cent. of those who elected for jury trial and were convicted had previous convictions.