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DPP prosecuted in more than 60 per cent of cases last year

However, about 3,312 suspects were not prosecuted by the DPP because of a lack of sufficient evidence in Garda files.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE OFFICE OF the Director of Public Prosecutions decided to prosecute in 62 per cent of cases sent to them by the Gardaí last year.

According to the DPP’s annual report for 2010, the office prosecuted a total of 7,764 suspects after receiving 15,952 files from An Garda Síochána.

About 29 per cent of those were prosecuted in the Circuit, Central and Criminal courts, while 33 per cent were prosecuted through the District Court.

Some 3 per cent are still “under consideration”.

The figures are in line with those of 2009.

Commenting on the 4,412 suspects not prosecuted, the DPP said the most common reason to decide not to prosecute is a lack of sufficient evidence. About 75 per cent of files (accounting for 3,312 suspects) were deemed to have insufficient evidence. This figure is up about 5 per cent on 2009 statistics.

A further breakdown of the figures shows that:

  • 171 were not made with the DPP citing public interest as the reason;
  • 2 per cent of unprosecuted suspects were directed to the juvenile diversion programme;
  • 34 were not prosecuted on sympathetic grounds;
  • In 61 cases, time ran out while in 27 cases there was an “undue delay”. Both of these figures are down considerably on 2009;
  • In 199 cases, the complaint was withdrawn by the injured party;
  • 517 cases were categorised as “other” – this could mean that the suspect or complainant died or disappeared or the complainant refused to give evidence.

According to the annual report almost half of the files sent to the DPP by the Gardaí were dealt with within two weeks.

Convictions

The report also provided greater detail about convictions in its 2009 cases. A more detailed breakdown of 2010 cases is not available as many have not yet completed.

About 63 per cent of 2009 cases heard in the Circuit, Central and Criminal courts resulted in convictions – the overwhelming majority of these after guilty pleas were made.

More than 1,200 cases are still to be heard, while 89 were struck out or discontinued.

In the Circuit Criminal Court, 131 suspects were trialled for sexual offences. Of those, 63 have been finalised with 60 resulting in convictions.

In the Central Criminal Court, 29 cases of rape and 2 cases of attempted rape were heard. Both attempted rape cases resulted in convictions, while 23 of the rape suspects were convicted. This included five convictions on lesser charges.

Also in the Central Criminal Court, 29 cases of murder were heard and 16 convictions made. Another 11 convictions on lesser charges were also recorded.

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner reports that about 70 per cent of suspects in sex offence cases from 2008 to 2011 have not been prosecuted by the DPP.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that, so far this year, no prosecution has been taken in relation to 736 suspects in sex offence cases. Another 270 cases are pending.

Read the DDP’s annual report for 2010>

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