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Bail

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many defendants were charged with violence against the person, sexual offences or robbery in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; how many and what proportion of those so charged were (a) granted and (b) refused bail; and what condition of schedule 1 of the Bail Act 1976 was cited as the reason not to grant bail in each case for which such information is available. (206495)

Data showing the number of defendants proceeded against for violence against the person offences, sexual offences and robbery in England and Wales, from 1997 to 2006 is in table 1. Charging data are not collected centrally by my Department; data relating to those defendants proceeded against have been supplied instead.

Data showing the number of defendants remanded on bail by the courts for offences of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery, in England and Wales for the years 2004 to 2006 can be found in table 2. The data include those held in custody at any stage during proceedings. Bail data broken down by offence group prior to 2004 are not collated centrally. The bail data supplied relate to the offence at the outcome of court proceedings, which may differ from the original charged offence. These data are taken from the 'Criminal Statistics, England and Wales' publications, 2004-06.

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

It is not possible to provide information on the proportion of those proceeded against who were bailed, as the data to compile the proportion are on different bases, and therefore are not comparable. Data on the number of persons refused bail and the reasons for refusal are not collected by my Department.

Table 1: Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for violence against the person offences, sexual offences and robbery, England and Wales, 1997 to 20061, 2

Offence type

Violence against the person

Sexual offences

Robbery

1997

70,561

7,028

10,781

1998

75,243

7,763

10,450

1999

75,315

7,817

10,321

2000

75,502

7,263

12,142

2001

76,706

8,424

14,871

2002

78,446

9,102

15,644

2003

79,612

9,121

13,732

2004

71,752

9,579

12,404

2005

68,172

9,711

12,526

2006

64,763

9,074

13,226

1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Court Proceedings Database.

Table 2: Estimated number of persons remanded on bail for selected offence groups, at magistrates or the Crown court, England and Wales, 2004-061

Type of offence

Total number bailed at all courts2, 3 (thousand)

Violence against the person4

2004

71.8

2005

67.1

2006

64.8

Sexual offences4

2004

10.8

2005

10.5

2006

10.1

Robbery4

2004

10.6

2005

9.3

2006

9.8

1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 2 Includes those also held in custody at some stage and those failing to appear to bail. 3 Excludes defendants reported as failing to appear to a summons although some of these cases, having been initiated by a summons may have resulted in the defendant being remanded on bail. 4 The offence is that which the defendant is acquitted or convicted of, which may differ from the original offence the defendant was charged with. Note: Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Court Proceedings Database.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of (a) defendants released on bail and (b) defendants charged with violence against the person, sexual offences or robbery and then released on bail (i) failed to turn up for sentencing and (ii) broke their bail conditions in other ways in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (206496)

Data showing the estimated number of persons remanded on bail by the courts, and subsequently failing to appear to bail at court, in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 2006 (latest available) can be found in the following table. The data include those held in custody at some stage during proceedings. A breakdown by offence group is available only for 2004 onwards. These data are taken from the 'Criminal Statistics, England and Wales' publications, 1997-2006.

Data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform does not distinguish between those failing to appear at court for sentencing and those failing to appear at court at other stages during proceedings. Additionally, the data do not identify other breaches of bail conditions.

Estimated number of persons remanded on bail and failing to appear, at magistrates or the Crown court, 1997-20061, England and Wales

Type of offence

Total number bailed at all courts2, 3 (thousand)

Number failing to appear to bail (thousand)

Percentage of those bailed failing to appear

Violence against the person4

2004

71.8

6.5

9

2005

67.1

5.7

8

2006

64.8

5.5

9

Sexual offences4

2004

10.8

0.5

4

2005

10.5

0.5

5

2006

10.1

0.5

5

Robbery4

2004

10.6

0.8

8

2005

9.3

0.7

7

2006

9.8

0.7

7

All offences

1997

601.4

68.5

11

1998

640.2

74.9

12

1999

593.7

73.9

12

2000

583.1

72.7

12

2001

598.7

77.7

13

2002

585.5

87.3

15

2003

598.7

83.7

14

2004

633.0

83.8

13

2005

590.0

72.3

12

2006

562.3

67.2

12

1 These data are on the principal offence basis. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. 2 Includes those also held in custody at some stage and those failing to appear to bail. 3 Excludes defendants reported as failing to appear to a summons although some of these cases, having been initiated by a summons may have resulted in the defendant being remanded on bail. 4 The offence is that which the defendant is acquitted or convicted of, which may differ from the original offence the defendant was charged with. Note: Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. Source: Court Proceedings Database.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of offenders released on bail in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available were (a) originally charged with and (b) subsequently sentenced for offences of violence against the person, sexual offences or robbery. (206498)

Data showing the number and proportion of defendants remanded on bail for offences of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery, in England and Wales for the years 2004 to 2006 can be found in the following table. The data include those held in custody at any stage during proceedings. Bail data broken down by offence group prior to 2004 are not collated centrally. These data are taken from the “Criminal Statistics, England and Wales” publications, 2004-06.

Data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform records the offence at the outcome of court proceedings, which may differ from the original charged offence. Bail data are not collated separately for defendants who are sentenced for specific offence groups. The figures given relate to all defendants, whether convicted and sentenced or acquitted.

Estimated number and proportion of persons remanded on bail for selected offence groups, at magistrates or the Crown court, England and Wales, 2004-061Type of offenceTotal number bailed at all courts2,3 (thousand)Percentage of all those bailed for all offencesViolence against the person4200471.811.3200567.111.4200664.811.5Sexual offences4200410.81.7200510.51.8200610.11.8Robbery4200410.61.720059.31.620069.81.7All offences2004633.01002005590.01002006562.3100 1 These data are on the principal offence basis. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.2 Includes those also held in custody at some stage and those failing to appear to bail.3 Excludes defendants reported as failing to appear to a summons although some of these cases, having been initiated by a summons may have resulted in the defendant being remanded on bail.4 The offence is that which the defendant is acquitted or convicted of, which may differ from the original offence the defendant was charged with.Note:Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.Source:Court Proceedings Database

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many defendants granted bail in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available (a) had previous convictions for violence against the person, sexual offences or robbery, (b) had committed previous offences while on bail, (c) had committed offences while on early or temporary release on licence from prison, (d) were convicted but unsentenced offenders and (e) were convicted of offences which passed the custodial threshold but were as yet unsentenced. (206500)

Court proceedings data held by my Department do not identify the criminal history of defendants granted bail, or whether persons were on bail at the time of committing an offence.

The court may withhold bail if it is satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that, if released on bail, the defendant would abscond, commit an offence, interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice. In making its decision the court must consider all the circumstances of the case as appear to be relevant. The nature of the alleged offence is only one factor, and the others include the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the defendant's character, antecedents, associations, community ties and past record of complying with bail, as well as any other factors which appear relevant to the court.