3. Acquittals by crime type
When an accused person is found not guilty of a charge, or the charge is not proven, this is called an ‘acquittal’. In 2020-21, 3% of people were acquitted on a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and 1% were acquitted on a ‘not proven’ verdict. A further 5% either had a plea of ‘not guilty’ accepted or their case was deserted by the prosecution or the Court. These proportions are broadly unchanged over the last five years.
Chart 4 shows the crime types with the highest acquittal rates in comparison with the overall rate of 4% in 2020-21:
- as in previous years, the highest rate was seen for rape and attempted rape, where 48% or 73 people of the 152 proceeded against were acquitted,
- there were also high acquittal rates for sexual assault (29% had their case acquitted), and
- The highest rate of acquittals for non-sexual crimes was for 13% of cases of homicide etc.
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