Met police chief says more people are pleading not guilty to court delays

London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the number of people pleading not guilty to criminal offenses had risen significantly, blaming the barrister strike in part.

In a briefing with journalists on Tuesday, Lowry said the number of people who pleaded not guilty has surged from 20% to 80%, a trend that has caused a great deal of distress to victims, especially those who report rape and sexual assault. I am giving

Rowley says: More and more cases are backing up in the system, and that’s a real concern for me.”

He said, “We’re hearing that struggling defense attorneys are persuading more clients to plead not guilty as cases are moving backwards in the system, and this is increasing the backlog. ”

“Someone told me that we usually plead about 80% guilty and 20% innocent in all crimes and now it’s the other way around. Especially for victims of sexual crimes. is a problem,” Rowley added.

He said a backlog of cases in both magistrates and criminal courts, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic and was exacerbated by this year’s barrister strike, has led to many criminals using the system to plead not guilty. He said he was persuaded to do so and hoped their case would be dropped. Crown Public Prosecutor’s Office.

64,000 criminal case backlogs

The latest figures from Court Services show that there were 360,611 backlogs in England and Wales at the end of August, with Crown Court backlogs reaching 64,000 by the end of September. Some defendants say he has to wait two years before a criminal court trial.

Most of them are out on bail, and delays can lead to victims and witnesses withdrawing their intentions to continue.

In England and Wales, a person charged with a crime can first appear before a magistrate’s court and plead guilty at an early stage, thus saving on trial costs.

But when accused of more serious crimes, such as rape or murder, they are transferred to criminal court only to be given the chance to plead guilty at a later stage.

A defendant accused of rape or murder can be changed from innocence to guilt at any time, including during trial, but only if he pleads guilty early will his sentence be significantly reduced.

The barrister strike ended last week when members of the Criminal Lawyers Association (CBA) voted to accept a new proposal from the government. This increased his legal aid fees for existing and new cases by 15%.

Kirsty Brimelow KC, Chair of the CBA, said: Ultimately the decision of innocence or guilty plea is made by the client. ”

A CBA spokesperson said in a statement to the Epoch Times: With more than 8,500 defendants remaining in detention without trial, it is advisable to check the number of remand prisoners, which is currently at a 14-year high. ”

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.