The public will lose confidence in the criminal justice system’s ability to uphold the law unless delays arising from the court backlog are reduced, the outgoing chief inspector for the Crown Prosecution Service has warned.
Kevin McGinty, who retires as chief inspector of HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate today, has published a six-year review to mark the end of his six-year term in office.
The review contains a letter to the attorney general Michael Ellis QC MP, in which McGinty says the criminal justice system was in a weakened state before Covid-19 struck ‘due to years of underfunding’.
He said: ‘Currently, the talk is of returning to pre-Covid levels of backlog, which must be unacceptable to anyone who works or has an interest in criminal justice. It cannot be right that a victim of rape or other serious offence may have to wait 18 months, as was the case before Covid, before their trial can be heard. At the time of writing many cases are not even getting trial dates – however far in the future. Unless delays are reduced there is a real risk that the public will lose confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system to uphold the law.’
McGinty’s report looks back at 63 inspections conducted under his tenure. His successor, Andrew Cayley CMG QC FRSA, takes up office on 1 April.