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19 Sept 2002 : Column 89Wcontinued
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The Solicitor-General [holding answer 10 June 2002]: I regularly meet the Director of Public Prosecutions in the course of my official duties both formally and informally. Departmental meetings with the DPP take place approximately once every three weeks, and further meetings occur to discuss particular issues as they arise. My last meeting with the Director was on 19th July.
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 10 June 2002]: Since 7 June 2001 my public engagements have consisted of: (1) 9 sessions of oral parliamentary questions (2) 9 visits to regional CPS offices (3) 6 visits to the legal departments of other government departments in connection with the Law Officers role as superintenders of the Government Legal Service (4) 13 visits to courts, police stations, prisons and CPS offices, in connection with my role as the chair of the committee on the Criminal Justice System in London. (5) 10 official launches or openings (6) 28 speeches (7) hosting 6 receptions (8) 10 formal dinners (9) 3 Auld report consultation events (10) 2 visits in connection with my role as street crime sponsor minister.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Solicitor-General what proportion of waste produced in her Department was (a) recycled, (b) composted and (c) re-used, broken down into (i) paper, (ii) plastics, (iii) aluminium cans and (iv) other in each year since 1997; what plans there are to increase these proportions; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 8 July 2002]: The detailed information requested is not available. However, all of the Departments for which the Attorney General is responsible make efforts to ensure that waste products are disposed of appropriately. In particular, paper and toner cartridges (which together represent a majority of the waste produced) are re-cycled by the Treasury Solicitor's Department, Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General's own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers. The Treasury Solicitor's Department and Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers also re-cycle all used fluorescent tubes. As part of the Law Officers' Departments' contribution to Sustainable Development, we are continually reviewing the extent to which waste may be recycled.
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The Solicitor-General [holding answer 4 July 2002]: My right hon. and learned Friend, the Attorney General, and I discuss youth justice at our regular meetings with the DPP and with local CPS staff on our visits to the CPS Areas. I discussed the issues with HM Chief Inspector, CPS Inspectorate on the eve of publication of the joint inspectorate report on the progress made in the reduction of delay in the youth justice system on 23 May 2002.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Solicitor-General what her estimate is of the average length of time between transfer/committal and verdict for the Serious Fraud Office in each year since 199798; and if she will make a statement. 
The Serious Fraud Office works hard to reduce unduly long trials by securing, where possible, defence admissions of non-contentious evidence and by contributing towards the provision of real-time transcription services. In addition, the SFO regularly presents complex evidence in a graphical or electronic form, which improves clarity and saves time for the jury and court.
The Serious Fraud Office investigates and prosecutes some of the largest and most difficult cases in the UK often involving substantial sums of money exceeding £1 million. I refer my honourable friend to my answer to Dave Watts of 10 January 2002.
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 July 2002]: The average time taken between acceptance and committal or transfer to the Crown Court for a Serious Fraud Office case since 199798 is set out below:
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Mr. Hague: To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions for manslaughter have been brought against doctors since 1974; and how many of them have been acquitted by the jury, and at what cost to public funds. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 24 July 2002]: It is extremely difficult to give precise figures. Before 1993, prosecutions were recorded by the name of the defendant and not by the defendant's occupation.
In 1993 a new case-tracking system was introduced by the CPS which allowed prosecutions for manslaughter arising from gross medical negligence to be recorded. But these figures do not distinguish between doctors and other medical staff.
Bearing in mind these caveats, the CPS has estimated that since 1994 twelve doctors have been prosecuted for "medical" manslaughter. Of those, eight were acquitted of all charges and four were convicted of at least one count on the indictment.
The principles applied by Crown prosecutors when deciding whether the prosecution of a doctor, or of any other person, is justified are set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The prosecutor must be satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction. If there is sufficient evidence the prosecutor goes on to consider whether a prosecution is needed in the public interest. Because manslaughter is such a serious offence, if the evidence is sufficient to justify proceedings a prosecution would normally follow. Cases involving allegations of "medical" manslaughter are considered by the Casework Directorate at CPS headquarters rather than by the CPS Area in which the death occurred.
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|Total convictions as per cent. of hearings||953,753 (98.1)||972,650 (98.3)||986,136 (98.3)||929,806 (98.3)||933,305 (98.3)|
|Total convictions as per cent. of hearings||87,273 (90.6)||70,935 (89.1)||66,960 (88.6)||62,419 (87.9)||62,824 (88.8)|
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Solicitor-General what rules of (a) procedure and (b) evidence may prevent a prosecution witness giving evidence of (i) the appearances of a defendant whom that witness has seen at the scene of an alleged crime, (ii) the fact of a defendant being of no fixed abode and (iii) the whereabouts of objects at the scene of an alleged theft which are not the subject of a charge of theft. 
Whether a witness is permitted to give evidence on a particular issue depends on the relevance of their testimony to the charge before the court, and whether that evidence is admissible. There are many factors which might affect the admissibility of evidence, and each case would depend upon its precise facts.
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