4 Commentary: Persons Proceeded Against ( Tables 1 and 2)
(Unless otherwise stated, references in this bulletin to the type of crime or offence for which a person is proceeded against or convicted relate to the main charge involved. For the definition of main charge, see Annex, note 13. The final column of Table 4a provides counts of individual offences with a charge proved regardless of whether or not they were the main offence involved. More detailed information on individual motor vehicle offences with a charge proved is also included in Section 9.)
4.1 In 2005/06, the total number of persons proceeded against decreased by 5 per cent to an estimated 142,200. This figure is 19 per cent below the figure of 174,500 recorded for 1996/97.
4.3 An estimated 89 per cent of persons proceeded against in court in 2005/06 were convicted of at least one charge, a total of 128,400 convictions. Two per cent were acquitted on a "not guilty" verdict, and one per cent on a "not proven" verdict. The remaining 8 per cent either had their case deserted by the prosecution or a plea of "not guilty" accepted.
4.4 Acquittal rates vary by type of crime. In 2005/06, sixteen per cent of those proceeded against in court for serious assault and 47 per cent of those proceeded against for rape or attempted rape were acquitted following a "not guilty" or "not proven" verdict. Twenty six per cent of persons proceeded against for theft of a motor vehicle had a plea of not guilty accepted or the case against them deserted. By contrast, 94 per cent of persons proceeded against in court for motor vehicle offences were convicted in 2005/06, with only 1 per cent acquitted on a "not guilty" verdict and most of the remaining prosecutions either being deserted or having a plea of "not guilty" accepted.
4.5 Of those persons acquitted in 2005/06 (as opposed to those who had a plea of not guilty accepted or the case against them deserted), 19 per cent received a "not proven" verdict. This proportion varied by type of crime: for example, it was higher than average for homicide (67 per cent), serious assault (27 per cent), crimes of indecency (29 per cent), theft of a motor vehicle (36 per cent) and dangerous and careless driving (23 per cent); it was lower than average for shoplifting (6 per cent) and vandalism etc (12 per cent).
Chart 2: Overview of action within the criminal justice system 2005/06