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Criminal cases take longer to go to trial

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Suspect in €10k theft 'wearing lady's belly top'

Suspect in €10k theft 'wearing lady's belly top'

Suspect in €10k theft 'wearing lady's belly top'

The time it is taking for criminal prosecutions to come to trial for serious offences - such as rape and murder - has increased over the past year.

The waiting list for a trial date is approximately 15-18 months, compared to the average of 12 months it took a year ago.

The reason why cases are taking longer to start is because the trials themselves are taking more time to conclude.

It is understood that prosecutors are gathering more evidence, therefore taking longer to start a trial and in turn taking longer to present their case.

In some circumstances proceedings are taking even longer than the given average to commence.

The increase in time for a case to start is all the more surprising, given the fact that there has been a decrease in the amount of cases before the Central Criminal Court in the last few years. Last year there were 125 new defendants sent forward for trial in the Central Criminal Court, a 5pc drop on figures from 2012.

The numbers look set to drop again this year, with the most recent statistics showing that only 114 defendants were sent to trial in 2014 on charges relating to manslaughter, rape, indecent/sexual assault and assault.

However despite it taking longer for a case to commence, the figure has significantly decreased over the last decade.

Average

Ten years ago the average time it took for a case to come to trial was between four and five years.

A spokesman for the Courts Service explained that the reason for the original decrease in time was due to three separate reasons.

"We have increased the number of judges in the judicial system, which obviously makes a big difference," the spokesman said.

"Then the administrative structure has improved over the last number of years, meaning the process runs a lot more effectively.

"The building of the CCJ also made a major difference, offering extra courts to deal with the demand."

hnews@herald.ie


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