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22 Mar 2005 : Column 646W—continued



Mr. Hayes: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment she has made of the implications for UK audit practices of European Court of Justice Case C-255/01, reference OJ C300 vol 47 of 4 December 2004, with particular reference to equivalence of professional qualifications for professional auditors dealing with European Community funds. [207105]

The Solicitor-General: The Department of Trade and Industry has taken up the issues raised by the case with the European Commission in the context of the new proposed 8th Company Law Directive on Statutory Audit of Annual Accounts and Consolidated Accounts. It hopes to resolve these issues, which could potentially affect a small number of auditors in the UK and from other EU member states, in this context.
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Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Solicitor-General how many complaints were received by her Department about decisions of the Crown Prosecution Service in 2004. [218708]

The Solicitor-General: The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers established a correspondence unit on 1November 2004 to handle the large amount of correspondence it receives.

It is not possible to ascertain with any degree of accuracy what proportion of the correspondence received relates to complaints about CPS decisions. Individual files would have to be checked for content which would incur disproportionate costs.

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Solicitor-General what records are kept of the proportion of cases submitted by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service that are deemed not to have a realistic prospect of successful prosecution. [218709]

The Solicitor-General: Since April 2004, the Crown Prosecution Service has recorded, for each case subject to a pre-charge decision in which the final decision was not to prosecute, the reason for that decision. Table 1 shows this information for the period April-December 2004, divided into evidential reasons and public interest reasons, together with the more exact reason allocated within each of these general categories.

Similarly, the Crown Prosecution Service records the reason for its decision to drop prosecutions after a defendant has been charged. This information is shown at Table 2, which covers the period January-December 2004. As well as cases in which either evidential or public interest reasons weighed against a prosecution, Table 2 also shows the number of cases in which a prosecution could not proceed, for example because the victim retracted or refused to give evidence, and a number of other reasons.

On both tables cases deemed not to have a realistic prospect of conviction are those shown under evidential reasons.
Table 1: Reasons for no prosecution 2004

Evidential reasons
Key witness does not support case1,5451.5
Unreliable/lack of identification5,4245.3
Inadmissible evidence—Breach of PACE4620.5
Inadmissible evidence—other than Breach of
Unreliable confession2560.2
Conflict of evidence18,32117.8
Essential medical evidence missing6170.6
Essential forensic evidence missing1,4421.4
Essential legal element missing44,27543.1
Unreliable witness or witnesses7,3457.2
Key victim does not support case5,1005.0
Total evidential reasons85,49183.3
Public interest reasons
Effect on victim's physical or mental health4250.4
Defendant elderly or in significant ill health4170.4
Loss or harm minor and single incident2,0982.0
Loss or harm put right5720.6
Long delay between offence/charge or trial7480.7
Very small or nominal penalty2,2632.2
Other indictment/sentence1,7481.7
Informer or other public interest immunity issues3680.4
Caution more suitable6,7936.6
Youth of offender1,7171.7
Total public interest reasons17,14916.7
Total reasons for no prosecution102,640

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Table 2: Reasons CPS dropped prosecution: 2004

Evidential reasons
Key witness does not support case1,3310.6
Unreliable/lack of identification7,2083.4
Inadmissible evidence—Breach of PACE4050.2
Inadmissible evidence—other than Breach of
Unreliable confession1540.1
Conflict of evidence6,4883.0
Essential medical evidence missing5270.2
Essential forensic evidence missing1,4440.7
Essential legal element missing30,31214.1
Unreliable witness or witnesses3,6951.7
Key victim does not support case3,6961.7
Total evidential reasons56,52726.3
Public interest reasons
Effect on victim's physical or mental health4810.2
Defendant elderly or in significant ill health1,2870.6
Loss or harm minor and single incident5760.3
Loss or harm put right1,1620.5
Long delay between offence/charge or trial2,5871.2
Very small or nominal penalty3,1141.4
Other indictment/sentence9,0464.2
Informer or other public interest immunity issues1,8520.9
Caution more suitable5,2862.5
Youth of offender1590.1
Total public interest reasons25,55011.9
Prosecution could not proceed
Administrative finalisation50,50223.5
File not received from police—adjournment
CPS not ready—adjournment refused1,7800.8
Offence taken into consideration5590.3
Victim refuses to give evidence or retracts10,9945.1
Other witness refuses to give evidence or retracts1,3700.6
Victim fails to attend unexpectedly4,4792.1
Other civilian witness fails to attend unexpectedly1,7190.8
Police witness fails to attend unexpectedly1,3890.6
Victim intimidation280.0
Other civilian witness intimidation410.0
Documents produced at court9,6294.5
Total prosecution could not proceed84,58639.3
Other reasons
Bind over acceptable17,2408.0
Total other reasons48,47122.5
Total reasons for prosecution dropped215,134

Freedom of Information

Llew Smith: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the (a) documents and (b) other written material released to date by her Department under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and what categories of information her Office has refused to release. [220637]

The Solicitor-General: To date my Department has released the following documents:
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My Office has not released information which we have judged exempt from disclosure under the Act, notably but not exclusively in relation to Sections 23 (information supplied by or related to bodies dealing with security matters), 27 (international relations), 35(formulation or development of Government policy, including the specific exemption at Section 33(1)(c) for Law Officers' advice) and 42 (legal professional privilege).
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