One in 10 cases were dropped

PROSECUTORS dropped more than one in 10 criminal cases in the county last year.

New figures show that the Crown Prosecution Service dropped 884 cases, or 10.4 per cent of proceedings, in Northamptonshire in 2011-12.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands Judith Walker said: “There is a wide range of causes for a case to be dropped. We have a commitment to keeping cases under continual review.

“For a case to be charged and continue through the court process, it has to meet the two-stage test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, in that there must be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction and a prosecution must be in the public interest.”

In the same period 88,106 cases were dropped nationally last year, at a rate of 9.8 per cent.

In 2010-11, 1,094 cases were shelved in Northamptonshire.

Other examples of when a case could be dropped is when victim or witness refuses to give evidence or new evidence has to come light.

The region’s chief crown prosecutor added: “The rate at which cases are dropped in Northamptonshire is broadly in line with the national average. However, we monitor our casework to ensure we continually improve the quality of our decision making from the outset.

“We are working more closely with the police, providing advice at the earliest possible stage and working with other agencies across the county.

“This is to ensure we have the right support in place for victims and witnesses, especially those who are vulnerable and therefore more likely feel unable to support a prosecution.”

Wiltshire had the highest percentage of cases dropped in the country, with a rate of 15.4 per cent. The lowest was Suffolk with 5.9 per cent.