Prosecutors in England and Wales have been urged to take a more risk-averse approach in rape cases to help stem widespread criticism of the service’s low conviction rates, the Guardian can reveal.
The controversial advice to take a proportion of “weak cases out of the system” has been given to specialist rape prosecutors in training seminars, which has led some staff to fear the service has undertaken an undeclared change in policy.
The advice has also caused alarm among experts and campaigners, who say it could severely limit victims’ access to justice. They warn it could lead to cases involving younger victims, students, or those with mental health issues being less likely to result in a charge.
On Sunday, the Guardian revealed that less than a third of prosecutions brought against young men result in a conviction, with men aged 18 to 24 in England and Wales less likely to be found guilty than older men on trial.
A low accusation to trial ratio shows that the CPS is tossing cases early on. A low trial to conviction rate shows that the CPS is putting forward dodgy cases for trial.
Yesterday The Guardian complained about the CPS not being selective enough with the cases sent to trial, today The Guardian complains about the CPS considering being more selective about the cases sent for trial.
One wonders which gender runs The Guardian’s rape coverage?