The Department of Justice (DoJ) today published the Research and Statistical Bulletin ‘Court Prosecutions, Convictions and Out of Court Disposals Statistics for Northern Ireland, 2019’. It is an Official Statistics Publication.
This bulletin presents data on prosecutions and convictions by Court Type; gender and age; and disposal and offence category. Similar disaggregation has been applied in relation to out of court disposals data.
In general, the overall picture is that the number of cases dealt with at Crown Court has increased since 2018, though the numbers dealt with at magistrates’ courts is virtually the same as last year’s total. The number of cases dealt with by way of out of court disposals have decreased from 2018.
PROSECUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS
- The number of prosecutions disposed at Crown Court in 2019 was 1,534, an 11.4% increase from 1,377 in 2018. The number of prosecutions at magistrates’ courts rose 0.1% from 27,931 in 2018 to 27,967 in 2019.
- In 2019, 84.8% (25,011) of prosecutions in all courts resulted in a conviction, down from, 85.0% (24,921) in 2018.
- The majority, 82.0% (24,177), of prosecutions completed at all courts in 2019, were cases where the defendant was male (Crown Court, 87.7% (1,346) and magistrates’ courts, 81.6% (22,831)).
- At all courts, persons in the 18 – 29 age range made up 40.3% (11,884) of prosecutions and 40.8% (10,201) of those convicted in 2019, with defendants aged 18 – 24 making up 21.5% (6,352) of cases prosecuted and 21.7% (5,433) of cases resulting in conviction. At all courts, cases where the defendant was aged 25 – 29 made up 18.8% (5,532) of cases prosecuted and 19.1% (4,768) of cases resulting in conviction.
- Of all offence categories, motoring offences made up the largest proportion of prosecutions at all courts: 12,169 (41.2% of all prosecutions) in 2019. Of all offence categories, drugs offences had the highest conviction rate at all courts, at 95.1% (2,574).
- Monetary penalties were the most frequently utilised disposal at all courts in 2019, with 54.1% (13,532) of all convictions having this type of disposal as their primary outcome. While a custodial outcome was imposed in 12.9% (3,218) of cases that resulted in conviction at all courts in 2019, for Crown Court, a custodial disposal was imposed in 45.1% (604) of cases.
OUT OF COURT DISPOSALS
- A total of 1,291 Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) were issued in 2019, 80.6% of which were to males. Offences in the Miscellaneous Crimes against Society and Public Order categories constituted the largest proportion of PNDs issued, with 37.9% (489) and 37.8% (488) respectively of all PNDs issued for offences in these categories.
- The number of out of court, diversionary disposals recorded against individuals’ criminal records in 2019 was 4,171, a fall of 4.3% from 4,359 in 2018. Most diversionary disposals were dealt with by way of caution, with 76.3% (3,183) of all diversionary disposals dealt with in this way.
- Of all those who received a diversionary disposal in 2019, most were in the younger age categories, with 52.8% (2,201) of all diversionary disposals handed out to the under 25 year old age group.
- In 2019, 75.0% (3,127) of all diversionary disposals were handed down to males.
- Of all diversionary disposals, 24.0% (1,001) were handed down for drug offences and a further 24.0% (999) were for violence against the person offences.
Notes to editors:
1. This bulletin presents prosecutions and convictions data for the year 2019 for all courts, magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court, which are disaggregated by age and gender of defendant, as well as details of out of court disposals completed during 2019. Data for the youth court, a special magistrates’ court which deals with proceedings against juveniles between the ages of 10 and 17, are included with those for the magistrates’ courts. The statistical coverage is restricted to those criminal prosecutions brought to court by the Public Prosecution Service on behalf of the PSNI, the National Crime Agency, the Airport Constabulary or Harbour Police in Northern Ireland and breaches of community sentences brought by the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI). Prosecutions brought by government departments, public bodies and private individuals are not included.
2. The data used in this bulletin were taken from the Causeway Data Sharing Mechanism (DSM1). They were extracted primarily based on records contained on the Criminal Records Viewer (CRV). The CRV is held on Causeway and utilises data which originated in the PSNI, PPS and from Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service. Causeway is an interconnected information system, launched as a joint undertaking by the Criminal Justice Organisations (CJOs) in Northern Ireland.
3. Historically, prior to 2006, data came from the PSNI’s Integrated Crime Information System (ICIS) and, prior to 2000, from manual returns collected at court and included information on prosecutions as well as convictions. For the period from 2006 – 2009, data were taken from the Criminal Records Viewer (CRV) which contains only data on convictions, so it was not possible to compile information on prosecutions for the period 2007 – 2009. From 2009 onwards, data have been sourced from the Causeway Data Sharing Mechanism (DSM1) and include prosecutions, convictions and out of court disposals. It is envisaged that the next publication in this series, containing data for 2020, will be available in early summer 2021.
4. Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference. They are also subject to restrictions in terms of pre-release access.
5. The bulletin will be available in PDF format from either Justice-ni/prosecutions and convictions statistics or Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Block B, Castle Buildings, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SG
7. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office by emailing Press.Office@justice-ni.x.gsi.gov.uk
8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110
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