(2) how many rape cases in (a) England and Wales and (b) Bedfordshire were dropped because of witness non-attendance at court proceedings in the last period for which figures are available.
In cases listed for trial in the Crown court during the period October 2005 to March 2006 there were eight rape cases where the prosecution ended the case because a witness was absent or withdrawn. There were a further five cases which were adjourned to a later date because a prosecution witness, other than a police officer or expert witness, was absent and an additional 21 cases adjourned because the defendant failed to attend court.
In England and Wales there were 18 rape cases listed for trial where the trial did not take place through witness non-attendance on the day. Of these eight cases were ended by the prosecution and 10 cases were adjourned and listed for another date. There were no such instances recorded at Luton Crown court in Bedfordshire during this period.
Figures relating to magistrates court proceedings are not collected centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost to the Department.