This txt msg arrived a little while ago at my Washington breakfast table. No time to blog on it (off to Arlington Cemetery for David Cameron's first public call) but The Telegraph has the full story. It appears that Straw knew about the issue for weeks, not years:
"Hundreds of criminals, including those accused of sexual offences, have avoided prosecution after a "cover-up" in magistrates' courts, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is to admit that over a period of "many years" hundreds of cases never came to court because warrants were not issued for the arrests of defendants when they failed to show up at court. It means that the offenders got away with their crimes. Mr Straw has known about the cases, which initially involved Leeds magistrates' court but are suspected could go much wider, for some weeks."