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Crime: Victims

Attorney General written question – answered on 6th May 2020.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Attorney General, what steps his Department is taking to protect victims of crime from the suspects of those crimes that have been released from remand following delays to their trial as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The Crown Prosecution Service is working to to protect the interests of victims and witnesses by ensuring that defendants properly remanded in custody remain in custody.

Custody Time Limits (CTLs) apply to all cases in which a defendant has been remanded in custody pending trial. Those time limits can be extended if the courts are satisfied that there is good and sufficient cause and if the prosecution have acted with all due diligence and expedition. The adjournment of criminal trials may require an extension of a CTL.

Following the suspension of jury trials the CPS agreed a Protocol for Custody Time Limit Cases with the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). The Protocol is a temporary framework during the Coronavirus pandemic for the efficient handling of cases that involve a custody time limit. The Protocol sets out an agreed process for the listing and handling of CTL cases; an agreed understanding of the law in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic; and arrangements for information sharing.

The courts consider the issue of bail at each hearing and on any application for bail made by a defendant. Should the court decide to grant bail, whether at the end of any CTL or at another hearing, the court can impose conditions to ensure that a suspect does not interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice, including the electronic monitoring of suspects.

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