Hundreds of people may have been wrongly convicted of coronavirus offences under a controversial system that bypasses court hearings, analysis by The Independent suggests.
Thousands of charges for allegedly breaching lockdown restrictions and rules around gatherings have been processed under the Single Justice Procedure, which sees one magistrate decide cases based largely on police evidence.
Not a single person has been successfully prosecuted under the Coronavirus Act despite almost 300 people being charged, it has emerged.
Figures released by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following a 12 month review, revealed that all 270 cases had been dropped before making it to court.
The vast majority of prosecutions were withdrawn because the police – confused by the constantly changing laws – had charged people with the wrong offence.
Every single one of the 246 prosecutions launched so far under a draconian coronavirus law has been done so incorrectly, the latest figures show.
The Coronavirus Act was introduced by the government in March last year, at the start of the pandemic. It contains emergency powers, such as banning mass gatherings and enforced screening for people deemed infectious, to restrict the spread of the virus.
The latest Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures for January, which showed all 14 people accused of breaching the Act last month had been wrongly charged, means there have now been 246 incorrect prosecutions since it was introduced.