More than 10,000 sex offence trials yet to go trial in court backlog | Politics | News

More than 10,000 sex offences and rapes are yet to go to trial in huge Crown Court backlogs, new figures have revealed.

According to the Ministry of Justice, there are now more than 67,500 crimes across England and Wales that are waiting to go to trial – something lawyers say is a 23-year high.

The lawyers also say rape victims are being “given false hope” that their cases would come to trial.

The figures, released on Thursday, show the overall backlog for court cases has risen eight percent in the last 12 months. That was despite the government hoping to reduce it to 53,000 by this time next year.

It comes as senior presiding judge Lord Justice Edis unveiled plans this month that would see all rape cases waiting more than two years heard within five months.

Lord Edis wanted 180 of the longest-delayed cases to be heard in court before August, reports The Times.

Criminal Bar Association chair Tana Adkin KC is now calling on the government to invest in legal professionals to help reduce the backlog.

She told the Law Gazette: “Doing nothing to increase rape and serious sexual offence fees is not an option unless we want to accept that rape and serious sexual offence trials will continue to be delayed for years, repeatedly postponed on the day because there is no barrister to prosecute or defend.

“The human cost for victims of these crimes as well as innocent defendants is beyond financial measure.”

The Ministry of Justice released figures in September that showed the that the number of adult rape cases arriving at the Crown Court was “higher than at any point since 2014, far exceeding our 2016 ambitions”.

It said there had been 665 crown court receipts for rape cases in the three months to the end of September – 20 percent above the target of 533.

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