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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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CPS advises Metropolitan Police no prosecution of Damian Green or Christopher Galley

16/04/2009

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, has decided there should be no charges brought against MP Damian Green or Home Office civil servant Christopher Galley, following a Metropolitan Police Service investigation into leaks of information from the Home Office.

Mr Starmer said: "The evidence I have considered includes all the relevant documents seized by the police following searches of the homes of Mr Galley and Mr Green, and of Mr Green's Constituency and Parliamentary offices, as well as other material including previous judgements and advice from counsel.

"I considered an alleged offence of misconduct in public office against Mr Galley and an alleged offence against Mr Green of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the alleged offence against Mr Galley, and of conspiring with Mr Galley for him to commit misconduct in public office.

"There is a high threshold before criminal proceedings can properly be brought for misconduct in public office. In considering whether the conduct of Mr Galley and Mr Green reached that threshold and in particular whether it represented such a serious departure from acceptable standards, and abuse of trust as to constitute a criminal offence, I have considered the extent to which there has been any actual damage arising, or the extent of any potential damage that could have arisen, as a result of their conduct.

"I have also had regard to the freedom of the press to publish information and ideas on matters of public interest.

"I have concluded that there is evidence upon which a jury might find that there was damage to the proper functioning of the Home Office. Such damage should not be underestimated. However, it has to be recognised that some damage to the proper functioning of public institutions is almost inevitable in every case where restricted and/or confidential information is leaked.

"In this case, therefore, I have considered whether there is evidence of any additional damage caused by the leaks in question. I have concluded that the information leaked was not secret information or information affecting national security:

"It did not relate to military, policing or intelligence matters. It did not expose anyone to a risk of injury or death. Nor, in many respects, was it highly confidential. Much of it was known to others outside the civil service, for example, in the security industry or the Labour Party or Parliament. Moreover, some of the information leaked undoubtedly touched on matters of legitimate public interest, which were reported in the press.

"I have therefore decided there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction against Mr Galley or Mr Green.

"This should not be taken to mean that in future cases, a prosecution on other facts would not be brought. My decision is made on the particular facts of this case and the unauthorised leaking of restricted and/or confidential information is not beyond the reach of the criminal law."

Ends

  1. For further information contact CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8180.
  2. The full text of the DPP's decision can be found on the CPS website:

    Decision on prosecution - Mr Christopher Galley and Mr Damian Green MP

  3. There is legal guidance on the CPS website about the offence of misconduct in a public office.
  4. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  5. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol