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Justice: Criminal Cases Review Commission

House of Lords written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases are awaiting consideration by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and of these, how many relate to convictions under Section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the cases on which decisions were made by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2010 were regarding convictions secured with the aid of Section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; in how many of those cases the conviction was overturned; what was the average length of time those cases had been in the queue awaiting review; and what was the cost of keeping the prisoners concerned in custody for the period between the case coming to the Commission's attention and the review beginning.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. This response is provided on behalf of the commission and based on information provided by it.

In relation to the first Question, I can confirm that at 30 November 2011 the Commission had 216 applications awaiting consideration. I am unable to indicate how many of those applications involve Section 32 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. This is because the commission would have to read the summing-up in all 216 cases to establish which cases involved Section 32. Cases vary enormously in size and complexity, but my officials have estimated that this would amount to approximately 58 days of work and would incur disproportionate costs.

For the purposes of the second Question, the total number of applications that the commission made decisions on in 2010 was 929. I am not in a position to provide answers to the questions asked about those cases on the grounds that gathering the precise information required would incur disproportionate costs. The commission has confirmed that in order to indicate how many of those cases were regarding convictions secured with the aid of Section 32, the Commission's statements of reasons along with the summing-up would both have to be read in most cases; even then, the degree to which Section 32 was relevant may not be clear from those documents. The other aspects of the Question as to the number of convictions overturned and average length of time that cases queued for review would each involve additional work. Information concerning costs of time spent in custody pending a review could not be ascertained until information about relevant timescales was available from the commission.

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