Malicious Communications Act 1988
Justice

Photo of Kerry McCarthy

Kerry McCarthy (Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs); Bristol East, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions for offences under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 there have been; and what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of such prosecutions and convictions which relate to messages sent via the internet.

Photo of Crispin Blunt

Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation); Reigate, Conservative)

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 in England and Wales, from 2006-10 (latest available) can be viewed in the following table.

Information held on the Ministry of Justice court proceedings database does not identify those proceedings under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 which specifically relate to messages sent via the internet.

Annual court proceedings data for 2011 are planned for publication in spring 2012.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, England and Wales, 2006-10 (1, 2, 3)
  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Statute Proceeded against Found guilty Proceeded against Found guilty Proceeded against Found guilty Proceeded against Found guilty Proceeded against Found guilty
Malicious Communications Act 1988 182 121 251 166 329 245 507 396 694 498
(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings 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, it 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. (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. (3) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services: Ministry of Justice.

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