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Crown Prosecution Service (Dropped Prosecutions)

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Solicitor General how many prosecutions have been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service on the grounds that it was not in the public interest to prosecute by reason of old age in the last five years. [122128]

The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) centrally held case records do not include information on the reasons underlying discontinuance. It is therefore not possible to say how many prosecutions the CPS have dropped on the grounds it was not in the public interest to prosecute by reason of old age. This information is held on individual case files, and could be obtained only, at disproportionate cost, by examining each relevant file in every CPS office across the country.The only information currently available comes from a survey of the reasons for discontinuance undertaken in six CPS branches during the period October to December 1998. This showed that 2.7 per cent. of all discontinuances were attributable to the age or ill health of the defendant. Obviously however this information is considerably out of date and came from a limited sample.The Compass case management system, which is to be implemented throughout the CPS by the end of 2003 will enable a full analysis of the reasons for discontinuance including a record of cases discontinued because the defendant was elderly.