Criminal Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Step 2
Criminal Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
- If charged with a criminal offence it would result in a court order,
- The police will investigate criminal offences and then pass evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision.
- The CPS will also prosecute (prepare and present) the case at court.
When deciding whether to charge a suspect CPS must consider
- an evidential and
- public interest test
Where a defendant has been charged with the offence they can either be released on bail to attend their first court hearing or be remanded in custody overnight at the police station and taken to court the next day, where he can apply to be released on bail.
- When deciding whether or not to grant a defendant bail the court will consider a number of factors including:
- The seriousness of the offence,
- The defendant’s character; and
- The strength of the case against him.
Bail conditions are any requirements the court considers necessary to ensure that the defendant attends court and does not commit any further offences. These can include:
- Order to stay at a certain address,
- Not to contact the victim or witnesses directly or indirectly,
- Comply with a curfew.
If a person is concerned about whether or not the defendant will be granted bail, or what the conditions of bail will be, they may discuss their concerns with the police officer or the Witness Care Unit contact.
Once these views have been passed onto the CPS they will take such concerns into consideration.
Fraud proceedings will be heard at either:
- The Magistrates’ Court or,
- The Crown Court for trial or sentence
- At the Magistrates Court the defendant will be asked at the first hearing if they are to plead guilty or not guilty.
- At the Crown Court the defendant shall plead guilty or not guilty. A separate Crown Court date would be fixed for the hearing.
If the defendant pleads guilty they will receive a criminal conviction and be sentenced either on the same day, or in a few weeks. If the case is adjourned (postponed) a pre-sentence report is prepared about the defendant.
- If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date will be set.
Not Guilty Plea
- If an individual decides to plea not guilty a trail date will be set. They would also need a sufficient reason, for example:
- They genuinely did not know that they were committing fraud;
- Lack of knowledge;
- When applying they were not informed properly
- Did not understand what they were filling out
- Genuinely did not believe that they are bound to inform the DWP (Department of Work and Pension)
- Was unable to read or relied on someone else to read it out
- Believed that they were not doing anything wrong
- They did not fill the form out themselves.
Worth noting that if you have signed the document it is likely to show that you have understood the information.
- The defendant’s interview,
- Witness statements,
- Forensic evidence, and
- Physical evidence such as CCTV.
The defendant’s lawyer has to put forward what the defendant says (his ‘defence’) without being aggressive or intimidating.
Note: The defendant can discuss issues and enquires with their police officer or Witness Care Unit contact prior to giving evidence. This is organised by the court Witness Service.
After Evidence Has Been Given
- After you have given evidence the CPS will present any other evidence they have.
- The defence then gets a chance to present their evidence.
- The prosecutor and defence lawyer will then present to the court which will decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
In the Crown Court this decision is made by a jury, whom are guided on the law by the judge. In the Magistrates’ Court, the decision is made by a judge or a panel of magistrates.
- If the defendant is found guilty they shall receive a criminal conviction and will be sentenced – either straight away or after pre-sentence reports are prepared by a probation officer.
- If the defendant is to be found not guilty then they are free to leave the court without a criminal conviction.
- The defendant can only be convicted if the magistrates, judge or jury are sure that they are guilty of the offence.
Conviction and Sentence
- What the defendant gets as his sentence depends on different factors including but not limited to; legal guidelines and what the presentence report recommends.
- The victim’s statement (VPS) will also be read and taken into account by the court at sentence.
A VPS is a statement taken from you after you give a witness statement to the police, or at any stage in the proceedings up to sentence, and is your chance to indicate the impact the abuse has had on you and your daily life.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.