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

My hon. Friend makes a valid point. Obviously, the early completion of serious cases removes the upset caused to victims, witnesses and relatives and so reduces the stress and anxiety that they might otherwise feel. There is also an advantage for defendants: if they plead early, there are quite considerable sentencing discounts. The Labour Government inherited a system under which it took about 12 weeks to get such cases committed to the Crown court, and another four weeks—often more—for an indication of plea to be given, whereas these cases are now being resolved extremely quickly.