Rape trial delayed by nine months due to lack of perspex screens

A rape survivor who waited two-and-a-half years to get to court faces another nine-month delay due to a lack of Perspex screens.

Victims’ Commissioner for London Claire Waxman said on Wednesday the delay means the person concerned will have waited nearly four years since the original incident.

Giving evidence to the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, Ms Waxman said that Covid-19 had only exacerbated a pre-existing backlog of rape cases.

The Commissioner added that she did not know why the courts were lacking Perspex screens.

“There was a backlog before Covid, Covid has only exacerbated that,” she said.

“I’ve got rape survivors, I only had one last week, they were due into court after two-and-a-half years, it was pulled the week before and they’re not going in until next June. That will be close to four years from time of report to court.

“It’s coming down to Perspex screens, which for some reason the courts haven’t set up yet.”

Labour committee member Jennette Arnold said the delay is “unacceptable” and “heartbreaking”.

Crown Prosecution Service figures show there were 2,102 rape prosecutions in 2019/20, down 59 per cent since 2016/17. Of these, 439 resulted in convictions.

The average time for a report of rape to result in a criminal charge is 395 days, longer than any other crime type.