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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 11:43 GMT
Court cases fail due to paperwork
The report found a weakening in preparation of cases
Thousands of people accused of serious offences had the cases against them dropped because prosecutors were not ready for court.

In 2006 to 2007, 2,325 crown court cases for offences including actual bodily harm and burglary were dropped.

The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate also found failings in keeping victims and witnesses informed.

But the report did find overall improvements in most regions in England and Wales.

The number of cases dropped is 2.5% of the total that should go on to be heard at crown court.

The problem was identified in a previous inspectorate report but this is the first time the numbers have been known.

'Still too many'

Chief inspector for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Stephen Wooler said: "It's partly the fault of the Crown Prosecution Service. They have to work as a team with police in preparing cases for court."

There was a weakening of the preparation of these cases across the areas reviewed, he said. The number equates to about nine cases for every day court sits.

"The number is coming down, but it's still too many in the view of the inspectorate," he added.

The CPS, which processes more than a million cases a year, insisted moves were being made to improve the system.

A spokesman told the BBC: "We accept that the number of cases discharged at committal has been unacceptably high.

"We are working hard, both with our partners in the police and other criminal justice agencies, and on our internal processes, to ensure that cases are proactively prepared and are ready for committal on time, rather than the case being adjourned or, in some cases, discharged."

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