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CPS lawyer admits serious offences in breach of trust

14/07/2010

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said that Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Sarfraz Ibrahim had disgraced the service through a serious breach of trust after he admitted charges of corruption, misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Starmer said: "Sarfraz Ibrahim has pleaded guilty to very serious offences. In doing so he has admitted not only that his behaviour was criminal but also that he committed a serious breach of trust and abused his position. When the guilty pleas were entered at court he was immediately dismissed from the CPS.

"While criminal behaviour of this serious nature is extremely rare in the service, the CPS will prosecute all such cases robustly and will not hesitate to take action against any member of its staff who brings discredit on the Service. This behaviour will not be tolerated in our organisation.

"As soon as we were alerted that one of our lawyers was under investigation, a senior lawyer at our Organised Crime Division was allocated the case and has worked very closely from the outset of the investigation with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)."

Swansea Crown Court heard that Sarfraz Ibrahim, Head of the Trials Advocacy Unit and a Crown Advocate in CPS Gwent, abused his position to advise that a suspect should not be prosecuted and on one occasion accepted £20,000 for doing so.

Mr Starmer said: "The public has a right to expect the highest standards of professional behaviour from CPS employees and I will not tolerate anything less.  All necessary action will always be taken to ensure that the public can continue to have confidence in all those who prosecute on their behalf."

Ends

  1. For further information contact CPS Press Office, 020 3357 0910 or general number 020 3357 0906.
  2. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard".
  3. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: the Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

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  4. 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

  5. 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