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Summary Justice Reform Performance Report: October 2009 – September 2011

Stage 3 - Court

Chart 7: First Calling Outcomes, October 2009 - September 2011

Chart 7

Chart 7 shows that in the two years from October 2009 - September 2011 the volume of both guilty pleas and not guilty pleas at first calling, although fluctuating from month to month, has remained fairly stable overall, as has the volume of continuations without plea. In the quarter July - September 2011, a total of 12,159 accused pled guilty at first calling, while a slightly higher number (12,708) pled not guilty. A total of 7,979 accused had their first calling continued without plea. These figures compare with 13,470 pleading guilty, 12,613 pleading not guilty and 8,830 continuing without plea in the same quarter of 2010.

Chart 8: Distribution of First Calling Outcomes, QuarterJuly - September 2011

Chart 8

Chart 8 shows that in the quarter July - September 2011, one third of first callings resulted in a plea of guilty, while a further third (34%) resulted in a plea of not guilty that was not accepted. Around one in five first callings (22%) were continued without plea.

Chart 9: Intermediate Diet Outcomes, October 2009 - September 2011

Chart 9

Chart 9 shows that over the two years from October 2009 to September 2011 the number of accused pleading guilty at intermediate diet has been stable. In the most recent quarter from July - September 2011 the volume of guilty pleas at intermediate diet has decreased slightly. Compared to the previous quarter when 3,928 accused plead guilty. A total of 3,836 accused pled guilty at intermediate diet in the quarter July - September 2011, in comparison to 4,015 accused pleading guilty at intermediate diet in the equivalent quarter of 2010.

The volume of continuations to original trial diet has increased over the two years from October 2009 to September 2011. In the most recent quarter 10,933 accused had their cases continued to the original trial diet, compared to 10,842 in the same quarter of 2010. A further 5,697 accused had their cases continued to a new trial diet in July - September 2011, compared with 5,536 in the same quarter of 2010.

Chart 10: Distribution of Intermediate Diet Outcomes, Quarter July - September 2011

Chart 10

Chart 10 shows that in the quarter July - September 2011, 12% of intermediate diets resulted in a guilty plea and a third (33%) continued to the scheduled trial diet; just over a fifth (22%) resulted in further intermediate diets being fixed; and 17% of intermediate diets resulted in a new trial diet being set.

Chart 11: Trial Diet Outcomes, October 2009 - September 2011

Chart 11

Note: The "no evidence led and adjourned to further trial diet" figures in this chart exclude cases adjourned on Crown motion, which are instead shown separately. For a full count of "no evidence led and adjourned to further trial diet", these two data series should be added together.

Chart 11 indicates that churn at trial diet continues to be common. In the two years from October 2009 to September 2011 the volume of trials in which no evidence is led and are adjourned to a further trial diet has decreased. The volume of cases adjourned on Crown Motion has decreased steadily over the last two years (from approximately 700 to 500 cases per month). The number of trial diets at which the accused pleads guilty and is sentenced immediately ('Guilty Plea only' on the chart) has increased. The number of trial diets in which evidence is led has remained relatively stable overall. In the quarter from July - September 2011, a total of 3,741 trial diets were adjourned to a further trial diet without any evidence being led, and a further 1,606 were adjourned on Crown Motion. These figures compare with 4,131 adjournments to further trial diet and 2,021 adjournments on Crown Motion in the same quarter of 2010.

Chart 12: Distribution of Trial Diet Outcomes, Quarter July - September 2011 Chart 12,

Note: "No evidence led and adjourned to further trial diet" and "Adjourned on Crown Motion" figures are shown separately. For a full count of "no evidence led and adjourned to further trial diet", these two data series should be added together. For a full count of guilty pleas the "guilty plea only" (pled guilty on the day) and "no evidence led adjourned to sentence" (pled guilty and deferred for sentence) data series should be added together.

Chart 12 shows that in the quarter July - September 2011, the most common outcome at trial diet continued to be adjournment to a further diet of trial with no evidence having being led (23%). Almost a quarter of trial diets (23%) resulted in the accused changing their plea to guilty ('guilty plea only' and 'no evidence led, adjourned for sentence). Evidence was led in just 5% of trial diets.