Is writing to the Crown Prosecution Service telling them that you’re not the type of guy who should be prosecuted really your best move?
Is your solicitor writing letters to the Crown Prosecution Service telling them that it’s, “Not in the Public Interest” for you to be prosecuted, with the hope that the CPS will drop the case against you?
In my post, “How can I get the CPS to drop the case”, I talk about the several ways of compelling the CPS to “offer no evidence”, i.e. drop the case.
The favourite way most solicitors use to try to get the CPS to drop the case is by saying that it’s “not in the public interest” for you to be prosecuted.
Why your being a nice guy is unlikely to persuade the CPS to drop the case
Even if you are a wonderful man who regularly contributes to the Little Sisters of the Poor and volunteers at the homeless shelter on Christmas Day, your solicitor’s beautiful letters to the CPS asking them to drop the case are likely to be a colossal waste of time and your money.
Because your solicitor is trying to appeal to a prosecutor’s good nature.
The prosecutor, on the other hand, knows full well that they are not supposed to be playing judge and jury. Prosecutors are supposed to be fair, objective and impartial.
Many solicitors who write those “drop the case because it’s not in the public interest” letters to the CPS haven’t read the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
There are two limbs to the Code for Crown Prosecutors: The Evidential Stage & the Public Interest Stage.
The reason why so many solicitors’ representations to “drop the case” fail is because they are not dealing with the test in a structured and comprehensive manner – they’re just throwing your being a nice guy against the wall and hoping something will stick.
Competent criminal lawyers will go through the Code for Crown Prosecutors, one step at a time.
The first step is the Evidential Stage. The prosecutor will ask themselves if there is more than a 50% chance realistic prospect of convicting you.
The way that the prosecutor is able to make that decision is by weighing up the evidence against you.
They first ask themselves whether the evidence against you can be used in court. Is it admissible? If, by looking at the Criminal Procedure Rules, the prosecutor thinks that the court would allow the evidence to be used at the trial, this evidence passes the admissible evidence hurdle.
The next thing the prosecutor considers is whether the evidence against you is reliable. Is it accurate? What about the integrity of the evidence?
Finally, the prosecutor considers whether the evidence against you is credible. Is there a reason for the prosecutor, at this stage, to doubt the evidence?
If, on balance of probabilities, there is enough admissible, reliable and credible evidence to give the prosecutor a realistic prospect of your conviction – the prosecutor will then go on to consider whether it’s in the public interest to prosecute you.
The Public Interest Stage – Does being a great guy matter?
The first thing the prosecutor will consider here is how serious the offence was. Did someone receive an injury? Was something stolen?
The next thing the prosecutor will consider is, “What is the suspect’s (your) culpability?
What is your alleged level of involvement? Are the CPS accusing you of hitting or stealing?
Do you have previous convictions for a similar type of offence?
Do you have mental health issues? When we say “mental health” issues, do you belong in a psychiatric unit?
What were the circumstances of harm to the alleged victim? Was someone assaulted in their own home? Were they driven out of their own home? Context is everything.
We’re you under 18 at the time of the alleged offence?
What is the impact of this alleged offence on the community?
Is a prosecution a proportionate response?
Let’s put it this way, even if you are a life-saving brain surgeon with a beautifully clean police record and many awards for your good works in the community, if the CPS have admissible, reliable and credible evidence that you have punched a (former) loved one in the face, leaving them with a broken nose and screaming down the hall for the neighbours to call the police, your solicitor could be wasting his/her time and your money writing letters to the CPS asking them to “drop the case”.
Rather than saying a nice guy like you shouldn’t be prosecuted – you may be better served focusing your energy on defending the case at court.
My simple tip
If you do have good reasons why it’s not in the public interest to prosecute, use the public interest stage of the Code to explain why. Otherwise, make sure your lawyer isn’t just writing letters to the CPS for the sake of charging you money.