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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

CPS announces decision on Abigail Witchalls case


The police investigation into the attack on Abigail Witchalls revealed evidence that would have been sufficient to commence a prosecution against Richard Cazaly for the offence, the CPS announced today.

The CPS's Principal Legal Adviser Chris Newell said: "In considering cases, the CPS has to decide if there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest for a prosecution to begin. Only after trial does a jury decide whether a person is guilty or not, on a higher standard of proof - beyond reasonable doubt.

"The CPS has advised Surrey Police that their investigation into this offence revealed evidence that would have been sufficient to prosecute Richard Cazaly, if he were alive. But this is in no sense a declaration that he was guilty of the offence. Had Mr Cazaly lived, our decision would merely have authorised the police to begin the legal process by charging him.

"We agreed to look at the evidence on a deceased suspect because of the very exceptional circumstances of this case."

Notes to Editors

For further details, please contact CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8105.