SFO drops conviction rate target

By David Fisher

The Serious Fraud Office has ditched its target of convicting 90 per cent of the people it takes to court.

The figure has been a staple of the SFO since it was established and has often been used to criticise the body.

SFO minister Judith Collins has approved dropping the target.

She was aware of criticisms the target pushed the agency toward easier cases that would boost its conviction rates, rather than the "serious and complex fraud" it was set up to target.

"I would not want [the SFO] to take cases that might be better left to other agencies. I want them to be stretching themselves."

SFO boss Adam Feeley said he was also aware of the perception the office had targeted easy cases but did not necessarily agree.

"Sometimes you have to take on the hard cases to satisfy the public that you are taking on the hard cases."

Feeley said the SFO was about to reveal decisions on prosecuting those involved in two collapsed finance companies, laying criminal charges in one case but not the other.

- NZ Herald

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