CAN THE CPS INTERVENE?

The Prosecutor is under no duty to inform the CPS that a Private Prosecution has commenced. But they may become aware of it in one of a number of ways. The Private Prosecutor can ask the CPS to take over the Prosecution. The Defendant can ask the CPS to take over the Prosecution. The Magistrates Court can refer the Prosecution to the CPS. A judge of the Crown Court can refer the matter to the CPS. On occasions the CPs will hear of it via a press report.

Upon hearing of the Private Prosecution, the CPS is entitled to request a full set of papers from the Private Prosecutor. Upon review of the case papers, the CPS may take over and continue with a Private Prosecution if they are of the opinion that it meets the Evidential Sufficiency Test and additionally the Public Interest Test, and that there is a particular need for the CPS to take it over.

However, the CPS may take over and terminate a Private Prosecution if either of those above tests is not met. But even if they are, they can still take such action if they believe the Prosecution is likely to damage the interests of justice. This would be where the Prosecution interferes with another criminal offence, or interferes with the Prosecution of another criminal offence or the Prosecution is regarded as vexatious.

These tests need to be applied separately to each every allegation.

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