Record high Crown Court conviction rates in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions has welcomed a record high conviction rate at the Crown Courts.
The conviction rate in the Crown Courts reached 86.4% last year, the highest recorded level by the Public Prosecution Service, up from 81.6% in the previous year. There was also a rise in the conviction rate in Magistrates' Courts at 78.9%, up from 78.8% in 2015-16. The PPS released the figures yesterday in a report which also highlighted that 2,250 defendants were dealt with in the Crown Courts, one of the highest figures recorded in recent years.
This was attributed to the clearing of the backlog of cases following the settlement of the legal aid dispute in 2016.
Barra McGrory QC welcomed the rise as "important in demonstrating the effectiveness of the criminal justice system". "This is against a backdrop of a challenging financial context where we have worked with a reducing budget and a new operating model with around 20% less staff than in 2015," he said.
The PPS received 43,946 files last year, and saw an increase in four offences classifications, including motoring offences, criminal damage, sexual offences and fraud and forgery. The largest reductions occurred in violence against the person, public order, drug offences and theft.