asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will undertake an investigation into the length of time for which prisoners awaiting trial are remanded in custody.
No. The factors determining the length of time which an untried prisoner spends in custody are already well known. We are seeking to reduce the delays, particularly in cases committed for trial at the Crown court where the average waiting time has been considerably reduced in recent years.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can give the figures of the number of boys who passed through remand centres in 1970 and 1974.
I regret that the information for 1970 is not available. The figures centrally recorded for subsequent years relate only to the number of boys initially sent to remand centres from the court and would not include those transferred to remand centres after initial reception into a local prison. I shall write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which four men awaiting trial have been on remand in custody for between nine and 12 months;(2) if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which a particular man awaiting trial has been on remand in custody for over 12 months.
One of the prisoners concerned was first remanded in custody on 24th January 1974 charged with taking and driving away a motor vehicle, driving without insurance and related offences. He was granted bail on 1st February 1974 and on 1st March was convicted and committed on bail to the Crown court for sentence. However, on 7th August he failed to answer his bail in connection with other alleged offences. He was subsequently arrested and remanded in custody on 25th October 1974. On 2nd January 1975 he was sentenced to three years' imprisonment for the first group of offences. The other charges were not proceeded with.Another was first remanded in custody on 27th February 1974 charged with two others with being knowingly concerned in attempting to evade the prohibition on the importation of cannabis. He was committed for trial on 17th April. The trial was fixed for 3rd September, which was the earliest suitable date in view of the expected length of the trial and the availability of witnesses. The trial had to be postponed, however, because of the prisoner's illness and the non-appearance of his two co-defendants, who had been granted bail. The trial began on 29th November and ended on 19th December 1974. The prisoner was convicted and sentenced to two years' imprisonment.In the other cases there are trials currently proceeding and I will send the details to my hon. Friend.