Petty crime charges tossed out to free up court

8:30 am on 29 April 2011

Christchurch police are offering people accused of minor offences committed before the 22 February earthquake the chance to avoid a full prosecution.

To reduce the backlog of court cases, some people over the age of 17 can now receive a formal warning on police records in return for an admission of guilt.

The new process applies to crimes carrying a prison term of no more than six months and which do not involve family violence or possession of methamphetamine.

The manager of the police prosecution service, Superintendent Craig Tweedie, says offences will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and the charges that could be withdrawn include disorderly behaviour and trespass.

He anticipates between 50 and 100 cases for minor offending could be cleared as a result.