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DPP meets family of Jane Clough

24/10/2011

DPP meets family of Jane Clough to discuss campaign to enable prosecutors to appeal against Crown Court decisions to grant bail.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, met with the family of Jane Clough at CPS Headquarters in London on 20 October 2011. A number of issues were discussed and Mr Starmer was able to offer his personal condolences to Mr and Mrs Clough over the death of their daughter, Jane, in July 2010.

Mr Starmer said: "This was an extremely sad case and Jane's family have shown real courage and dignity in the way they have dealt with her death and the issues they feel have arisen from the case against Jonathan Vass. I met with Mr and Mrs Clough on Thursday 20 October and we discussed a number of issues.

"One of which is the current Government proposal to provide the prosecution with the opportunity to appeal against the decision of a Crown Court judge to grant bail. I understand that there are a number of details to be worked out and it has not, for example, been decided who should hear such an appeal.

"From my perspective however, having given the matter careful consideration, I have come to the view that we would welcome the introduction of such a power for the prosecution.

"We would not anticipate such a right of appeal being used very often; however, where it was felt that a judge had got a decision on bail wrong, and the interests of victims and the wider public demanded that such a decision be challenged, then this would be regarded as a useful and appropriate option for the prosecution to have available to it.

"I have also given my undertaking to Mr and Mrs Clough that we will consult, both inside and outside the CPS, on draft guidance on prosecuting offences of rape when a further very serious offence, such as murder, has also been committed. In these cases, we will consult on what factors, other than that of the likely sentence to be imposed, we should consider before asking for rape offences to be made to lie on file, particularly those factors affecting the families of victims.

"Jane Clough's case was particularly tragic and whilst I am satisfied that the prosecution was conducted properly, I do think it is important that Mr and Mrs Clough have been able to raise these issues with me and I have welcomed their comments."

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