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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.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Peter Ball (former Bishop of Gloucester and Lewes) - charging decision

27/03/2014

The Crown Prosecution Service has reviewed the evidence gathered by Sussex Police during its investigation into allegations of abuse by Peter Ball, formerly the Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lewes. Mr Ball, 82, will be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and indecent assault.

Jaswant Narwal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, said: "After a thorough and careful review, I have decided that Peter Ball should be prosecuted for misconduct in public office and two indecent assaults. It is alleged that he sexually abused a number of young males between 1977 and 1992. The misconduct alleged is that he misused his position and authority to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification. During this time Mr Ball was serving as a Bishop in the Church of England.

"In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute. Criminal proceedings are now underway and the defendant has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

The charges are:

  • Misconduct in public office between 1977 and 1992
  • Indecent assault on a boy, aged 12 or 13, in 1978
  • Indecent assault on a man, aged 19 or 20, between 1980 and 1982

Mr Ball will appear at Brighton Magistrates' Court on 10 April 2014.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.