DPP didn’t prosecute 44 per cent of cases submitted

Dara Robinson

As many as 44 per cent of case files which were submitted to Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last year did not result in prosecution, new figures show.

A total of 14,023 case files on potential criminal prosecutions were received in 2014 but 5,177 resulted in no prosecution directed. Of these cases that were not taken forward, 80 per cent were because of insufficient evidence.

The proportion of unprosecuted cases has been increasing gradually from 35 per cent in 2008 to 44 per cent in 2014.

The new figures are revealed in the DPP’s annual report, published yesterday.

The report also shows that a decision as to whether to pursue a prosecution was made within two weeks of receiving a file in the majority (51 per cent) of cases, down slightly from 55 per cent in 2013.

Dara Robinson, a partner specialising in criminal law at Sheehan & Partners, said that Garda intelligence “doesn’t always translate into evidence”.

Mr Robinson told the Irish Times: “The DPP is capable of making a very cold forensic judgment in a case where the guards might be anxious for a prosecution. The DPP will base its decision on purely evidential considerations.”

The DPP will typically direct a prosecution where there is enough evidence to persuade a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

Minor offences like shoplifting and traffic violations do not require a file to be prepared.

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