HL Deb 09 June 2003 vol 649 cc1-2WA
Lord Orme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the results will be known of the pilot scheme implementing the recommendation of Sir Robin Auld that the Crown Prosecution Service should take responsibility for determining the charge from the outset of the case. [HL2842]

Lord Goldsmith

The independent evaluation of the early legal advice and charging pilot was published in a series of reports, the final version being released in April 2003.

The results have been very positive. The number of cases discontinued in the pilot sites was down, dramatically in some areas; more defendants pleaded guilty at first hearing; cracked and ineffective trials were significantly reduced and the number of convictions increased. The pilot demonstrated that the early input of a Crown Prosecutor's legal expertise into police investigations helps to build watertight cases. Getting cases right from the start means fewer abandoned prosecutions, less delay, more cases being brought to justice and a better deal for victims and witnesses.

The Crown Prosecution Service is working up a shadow-charging scheme to prepare for a seamless transition to the full statutory scheme when the Criminal Justice Bill is enacted.