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'Fast track' justice starts East End trials

PUBLISHED: 19:06 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:06 05 October 2010

PEOPLE committing minor offences are being offered official cautions at the police station rather than go before a court. A new system of 'fast track' justice began in East London this week to try and clear the growing backlog of cases at Thames Magistrates' and other courts

PEOPLE committing minor offences are being offered official cautions at the police station rather than go before a court.

A new system of 'fast track' justice began in East London this week to try and clear the growing backlog of cases building up at Thames Magistrates' and other busy courts.

An offender chosen for the scheme has to sign a form admitting guilt and agreeing to the conditions of the caution, but would escape a criminal record.

These would include non-serious offences such as minor criminal damage or shoplifting.

But the system is not available for domestic violence, whatever the circumstances, or for motoring offences.

The idea, which is eventually being introduced across London by the Crown Prosecution Service, came into effect in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney and Newham on Monday.

One aim is helping victims of minor crime get a satisfactory outcome as swiftly as possible and avoid the need to attend court.

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