Our criminal team has witnessed a growing number of cases where the police or Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have been over cautious in their decisions not to lay charges, leaving the victims of these cases with a deep sense of injustice.
Not only have they been the victims of crime, which in many cases has caused enormous stress and anxiety, but this situation is compounded by a subsequent decision by the authorities not to bring charges.
In many cases the authorities provide little or no reason for that decision and often the rights of a victim at that point are not even communicated, such as the victim’s right to review.
On many occasions when the decisions are scrutinised and the authorities are held to account, it can become apparent that there has been an inadequate investigation and/or a misapplication of both the relevant offences available to an incident and rules of evidence.
We have had significant success on behalf of victims in overturning initial decisions by both the police and CPS. Victims of crime should be aware that there are many options available to them if the wrong decision has been made. Sometimes the police can be informed about the weaknesses in their investigation and where there is merit, they can be persuaded to re-investigate. This entails a calm review of the evidence and appropriate representations to the authorities highlighting shortcomings in the case preparation.
It is difficult for the victim of a crime to move on until there is justice. Just because the authorities tell you there is no prospect of a conviction and no charges will follow, this should not necessarily be the end of the matter.