London: CPS under pressure
The Times newspaper in London reports that the CPS - responsible for public prosecutions of people charged with criminal offences in England and Wales – is sending time-consuming, lower earning cases to barristers outside the CPS, according to a memo sent by a senior member of staff.
Burglary, carrying a knife or possessing an offensive weapon are among the cases which CPS lawyers have been told to turn down, while robbery with a weapon, possession of drugs with the intent to supply and crimes involving indecent images have been deemed as high-earners which should be pursued by the CPS.
Prosecutors have also allegedly been told to keep cases that are likely to fail, as the CPS would avoid paying for the trial.
The e-mail, sent last month by an unnamed senior member of staff, has sparked outrage in the profession with Bar leaders writing to Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC and the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling, claiming that such moves are against the public interest.
Meanwhile Keir Starmer – the Director of Public Prosecutions – has apologised and promised an investigation telling The Times that this was categorically not CPS policy and that he had been assured by responses from all bar one Chief Crown prosecutor that they were not implementing such a policy.