Court Prosecutions, Convictions and Out of Court Disposals Statistics for Northern Ireland, 2014 published

Date published: 10 July 2015

The report is broken down by for 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.


  • The number of prosecutions disposed at Crown Court fell 19.2% from 2,553 in 2013 to 2,063 in 2014, reversing the upward trend seen in recent years.  The number of prosecutions at magistrates’ courts fell from 32,086 in 2013 to 29,417 in 2014, a fall of 8.3%.     
  • In 2014, 84.5% (26,607) of prosecutions in all courts resulted in a conviction.  This compares with 2013 when 83.2% (28,831) of prosecutions in all courts resulted in a conviction.  
  • The majority, 83.2% (26,207), of prosecutions completed at all courts in 2014, were cases where the defendant was male.  In Crown Court, 90.8% (1,873) of prosecutions were against males. In magistrates’ courts, 82.7% (24,334) were against males.
  • Persons in the 18 – 24 year old age band were most likely to have prosecutions against them in court in 2014.  They made up 26.6% (8,388) of all prosecutions at courts in Northern Ireland and 26.7% (7,104) of those convicted at all courts in 2014.
  • Most prosecutions completed in all courts over the period were for motoring offences: 12,875 (40.9% of all prosecutions) in 2014.  Of all offence categories, drugs offences had the highest conviction rate at all courts, at 92.7% (1,718).  


  • A total of 3,728 penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) were issued in 2014; 77.1% of which were to males.  Most PNDs were issued for public order offences, with 36.2% (1,350) of all PNDs issued being for offences in that category.
  • The number of out of court, diversionary disposals recorded against individuals’ criminal records in 2014 was 6,495, a fall of 16.2% from 7,752 in 2013.  Most diversionary disposals were dealt with by way of caution, with 77.9% (5,060) of all diversionary disposals dealt with in this way.  
  • Of all those who received a diversionary disposal in 2014, most were in the younger age categories, with 55.5% (3,602) of all diversionary disposals handed out to the under 25 year old age group.
  • In 2014, 75.6% (4,908) of all diversionary disposals were handed down to males.   
  • Of all diversionary disposals, 19.1% (1,243) were handed down for violence against the person offences and a further 18.8% (1,223) were for drug offences.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This bulletin presents prosecutions and convictions data for the year 2014 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 2014. 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 in which the PSNI or Harbour Police were involved and breaches of community sentences that resulted in new prosecutions being 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 2015, will be available in early summer 2016.    
  4. Official Statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official 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. View the bulletin at the publication section  or alternatively contact  Analytical Services Group, Financial Services Division, Laganside House, Oxford Street, Belfast BT1 3LA
  6. Email:
  7. Press queries about this publication should be directed to the DOJ Press Office on telephone number 028 9052 6444.

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