Facing Justice: Tackling Defendants' Non-attendance at Court; Twenty-second Report of Session 2004-05; Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

In 2002, 85 per cent of defendants attended hearings in England and Wales at the dates and times set for them, but those who do not turn up cause distress and inconvenience to victims and witnesses, and waste the time and resources of the courts and other agencies. Criminal justice agencies are not dealing with this situation effectively. For example, only 45 per cent of the 118,000 bail warrants issued in 2002, were executed by the police within three months. The Committee recommends that areas with a poor record for enforcing defendants' attendance should be "named and shamed" by the National Criminal Justice Board. The Board should determine the responsibilities of the different criminal justice agencies at each stage of the criminal justice process. The increased use of stipendiary magistrates should be re-considered by the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

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