Trials: Northern Ireland

Justice written question – answered on 28th February 2008.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many re-trials on indictment in Northern Ireland have been for reasons of a jury being discharged before being sent out to decide their verdict in the last five years; and how many have been for reasons of a jury being unable to reach a verdict.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

A retrial will only take place when a jury has been unable to reach a verdict or a retrial has been ordered by the Court of Appeal. A defendant will not be re-tried because the jury has been discharged before it reaches a verdict.

A jury can be discharged for any number of reasons at any stage prior to the conclusion of the trial. In these circumstances the case will continue with a new jury.

Information on the number of retrials in Northern Ireland was not centrally recorded prior to the introduction of a new IT system in October 2006. Consequently, it is not possible to provide the requested information prior to this without incurring disproportionate cost.

For Crown court cases dealt with in Northern Ireland between October 2006 and September 2007, there were four retrials on indictment, all of which were due to the jury failing to reach a verdict.

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