Prosecutors look again at '˜no action' cases as victims ask for reviews

VICTIMS of crime and their families have increasingly asked prosecutors to overturn decisions not to take suspects to court, new figures show.

Friday, 15th September 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:34 am
Elaine Dorey

Since 2013 complainants in certain cases, and families in murders and other cases involving deaths, have been able to ask Crown Prosecution Service to review the charging decision.

But despite more Victims’ Right to Review appeals being submitted, few decisions have been changed.

The figures obtained by The News under freedom of information law come as Elaine Dorey was prosecuted over the death of grandmother Julie Corben, a motorcyclist who died in a crash in The Avenue, Fareham, in 2015.

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Mrs Dorey was acquitted of causing death by careless driving at a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court in July.

She had initially been told by police there would be no prosecution, but Mrs Corben’s family asked the CPS to review the decision.

Now figures obtained by The News show since 2013 there were 290 such reviews – but only 33 changes to charging decisions.

There has been a year-on-year increase since the scheme was introduced, with 40 appeals in 2013-14, then 81 the following year, 74 in 2015-16 and 95 in 2016-17.

The figures cover CPS Wessex, which prosecutes cases in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Wiltshire.

A CPS spokesperson said: ‘Since the Victim’s Right to Review scheme was implemented, complainants in a case where the CPS took the decision not to take further action have been able to ask for a review of our decision and in some cases, our decisions have been overturned.

‘Our aim is for the public to have confidence in the service that we deliver and we have seen more complainants exercising their rights under the scheme year on year.’

Families of 13 homicide victims asked for appeals but just one was successful. The CPS did not give any further information.

But out of 117 sex offences just nine cases were successfully appealed.

Other appealed cases included:

n Sex offences: 117 with nine changed.

n Assaults: 76 reviews with nine changed.

n Fraud and forgery: 16 with two changed.

n Burglary: five (one).

n Robbery: one (none).

n Criminal damage: 14 (three).

n Driving offences: nine (three).

n Theft and handling: 22 (two).

The CPS refused to say how many cases had resulted in a conviction where a decision to charge someone had been made after a review.