Exclusive: concern that hundreds of people may have been wrongly charged under rushed assessments
More than 4,000 people in England and Wales have been prosecuted for a coronavirus offence through a controversial fast-track procedure that has raised concerns because of its lack of transparency, with fears hundreds could have been wrongly charged.
New figures show that 4,242 cases were dealt with under the single justice procedure (SJP) in relation to the health protection regulations last year. SJP rulings are made by a single magistrate sitting with a legal adviser. Defendants receive a letter informing them of the SJP and it is up to them whether they attend the hearing. In 90% of the Covid cases no plea was entered.
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