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Getting charges withdrawn under new CPS covid-19 guidance

New Crown Prosecution Service guidance requires prosecutors to consider dropping charges to reduce the backlog of cases from the Covid-19 outbreak (480,000 cases as at 26/06/20).

The CPS in their April 2020 interim guidance (set out below) have acknowledged the challenge they face in processing the huge ‘expanding pipeline of cases’ from the lockdown which has massively affected the Courts.

Since 23/03/20 when the Government introduced social distancing measures, few motoring cases have been dealt with by the Courts as they are considered low priority and the necessary resources have not been available although some Courts have agreed to deal with cases using remote technology. 

The CPS are therefore asking their lawyers to think twice before proceeding with charges brought by the police and will take into account the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the offender. 

We are putting forward suitable cases for consideration to the CPS (including driving with excess alcohol and fail to provide charges) under the new Covid-19 guidance in an effort to secure a discontinuance where possible. 

If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity you must act quickly by contacting us to have your case assessed and put forward for the CPS to review before the backlog is cleared. 

We have reproduced an excerpt from the guidance below.

Coronavirus: Interim CPS Case Review Guidance – Application of the Public Interest Covid-19 crisis response

When reviewing a case and considering this question, prosecutors should do so in the context of the ongoing impact on the criminal justice system of the Covid-19 pandemic, as set out above. In particular, prosecutors should note:

  • The crisis is producing an expanding pipeline of cases waiting to be heard.
  • Criminal proceedings and case progression are likely to be delayed. Significant delay may impact adversely on victims, witnesses and defendants, in some cases, may reduce the likelihood of a conviction.
  • Each case that is introduced into the system, or kept in the system, will contribute to the expanding pipeline and delay.

…When considering whether prosecution or continuing proceedings is a proportionate response, this factor must be weighed with all other relevant public interest factors, such as the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of and the harm caused to the victim, to form an overall assessment of the public interest.

…Each case must be decided on its own facts and merits, but factors that are likely to be relevant to determining what is in the interests of justice, not only for victims and witnesses, but also for each suspect and defendant are:

  • Whether an out of court disposal may be an appropriate response to the offender and / or seriousness and consequences of the offending.
  • Whether a guilty plea to some, but not all charges, or to a less serious offence, would enable the court to pass a sentence that matches the seriousness of the offending.
  • The length of time a suspect / defendant has spent on remand in custody; and any likely period of remand prior to trial.
  • The age and maturity of the suspect / defendant: prosecutors should have regard to CPS guidance on Youth Offenders.

Although there are no guarantees, the charges against you may be discontinued if you satisfy the qualifying criteria. Contact the office today on 08000443730 to have your case assessed by a lawyer to see if your case may be eligible.

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