Increases in all categories of criminal offences before the courts

All courts bar the High Court saw an increase in the number of cases coming before it
Increases in all categories of criminal offences before the courts
Cork courthouse on Washington Street. Picture: David Creedon / Anzenberger

The number of criminal offences coming before the courts increased at every level in 2019. 

The number of civil cases before the courts increased, but those cases resolved in the course of the year dropped; all courts bar the High Court saw an increase in the number of such cases coming before it. Cases in which one party was suing the other were most common, increasing by 7,000 to 135,208 last year.

There were 21,981 personal injury suits filed in 2019, down from 22,049 a year earlier.

The report shows 16,487 more serious offences were referred to the circuit court involving 5,170 defendants. Guilt was established in 10,295 cases, 910 of them after a trial. A total of 265 cases of rape were resolved before the circuit court last year - there were 91 convictions and 88 acquittals. Of those convicted, five were minors.

Also, 4,077 juvenile crime cases came before the district court, including 968 sexual offences. Of the total, there were 196 where detention or prison was the result, including 48 relating to sexual offences.

The report also shows waiting times vary - for example, an average of eight to 12 weeks for summonses before Tralee district court, versus 34 for Naas. The report also shows the Courts Service budget last year was €140.9m and €1.5m was spent on interpretation services, with Polish the most prominent language involved.

Court victim support was provided to 1,482 victims of crime, prosecution witnesses and their family/friends, up 8% compared to 2018. 

The number of medical negligence awards fell by 10 to 78 but the overall amount awarded soared from €91m in 2018 to €161m last year. There was also an increase in small claims procedures and in compensation awards to Members of An Garda Síochána who sustain injuries maliciously inflicted upon them in the performance of their duties (151 cases).

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