Oral Answers to Questions — Serious Cases (Crown Court)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5 April 2001.

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Photo of Professor Ross Cranston Professor Ross Cranston Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department 12:00, 5 April 2001

The new Narey indictable-only procedures that came into force on 15 January this year abolished committal proceedings for the most serious cases. Instead, following a single, brief magistrates court appearance, defendants charged with offences such as murder, rape and serious firearms or drug offences appear before a Crown court judge slightly more than a week after charge. Early indications suggest that there has been a tremendous change of culture, with some defendants in such cases wishing to indicate a guilty plea at the first Crown court hearing. In that way, even in cases such as armed robbery, sentences are being passed only nine days after charge.