This is an extract of our Code For Crown Prosecutors document, which we sell as part of our Professional Ethics Notes collection written by the top tier of City Law School students.
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CODE FOR CROWN PROSECUTORS
. Prosecutors must ensure that the law is properly applied; that relevant evidence is put before the court; and that obligations of disclosure are complied with.
. Prosecutors must be fair, independent and objective. They must not let any personal views about the ethnic or national origin, gender, disability, age, religion or belief, political views, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the suspect, victim or any witness influence their decisions. Neither must prosecutors be affected by improper or undue pressure from any source. Prosecutors must always act in the interests of justice and not solely for the purpose of obtaining a conviction.
. In more serious or complex cases, prosecutors decide whether a person should be charged with a criminal offence and, if so, what that offence should be. They make their decisions in accordance with this Code and the DPP's Guidance on Charging.
. Prosecutors often advise the police and other investigators about possible lines of inquiry and evidential requirements, and assist with pre-charge procedures. However, prosecutors cannot direct the police or other investigators.
. Prosecutors should identify and, where possible, seek to rectify evidential weaknesses, but, subject to the Threshold Test, they should swiftly stop cases which do not meet the evidential stage of the Full Code Test and which cannot be strengthened by further investigation, or where the public interest clearly does not require a prosecution.
. Prosecutors must only start or continue a prosecution when the case has passed both stages of the Full Code Test. The exception is when the Threshold Test may be applied where it is proposed to apply to the court to keep the suspect in custody after charge, and the evidence required to apply the Full Code Test is not yet available. The Full Code Test The Full Code Test has two stages: (i) the evidential stage; followed by (ii) the public interest stage. In most cases, prosecutors should only decide whether to prosecute after the investigation has been completed and after all the available evidence has been reviewed. However there will be cases where it is clear, prior to the collection and consideration of all the likely evidence, that the public interest does not require a prosecution. In these instances, prosecutors may decide that the case should not proceed further.
Prosecutors should only take such a decision when they are satisfied that the broad extent of the criminality has been determined and that they are able to make a fully informed assessment of the public interest. If prosecutors do not have sufficient information to take such a decision, the investigation should proceed and a decision taken later in accordance with the Full Code Test set out in this section. The Evidential Stage Prosecutors must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each suspect on each charge. They must consider what the defence case may be, and how it is likely to affect the prospects of conviction. A case which does not pass the evidential stage must not proceed, no matter how serious or sensitive it may be. The finding that there is a realistic prospect of conviction is based on the prosecutor's objective assessment of the evidence, including the impact of any defence and any other information that the suspect has put forward or on which he or she might rely. It means that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury or bench of magistrates or judge hearing a case alone, properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict the defendant of the charge alleged. When deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, prosecutors should ask themselves the following:
Can the evidence be used in court?
Prosecutors should consider whether there is any question over the admissibility of certain evidence. In doing so, prosecutors should assess: a) the likelihood of that evidence being held as inadmissible by the court; and b) the importance of that evidence in relation to the evidence as a whole.
Is the evidence reliable?
Is the evidence credible?
The Public Interest Stage In every case where there is sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution, prosecutors must go on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.
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