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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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Statement in relation to Operation Kalmyk

09/09/2015

Gregor McGill, Senior lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The CPS received a full file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Kalmyk investigation team in March 2015, after a complex investigation. Having carefully reviewed the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the CPS has concluded that no further action can be taken against any of the suspects involved.

"In total 15 suspects were considered in relation to allegations of 'computer hacking' allegedly carried out between April 2005 and September 2007 against 13 potential victims - some individuals, some corporate.

"The appropriate offence under consideration was unauthorised monitoring of a computer, contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act. Any potential offending under s1 Computer Misuse Act could not be prosecuted as that offence was time barred due to the age of the allegations. In order to consider other offences we must be satisfied that any alternative offences would have been preferable had the time-bar not been a barrier to prosecution - for example that it better illustrated the alleged offending or that it allowed more suitable sentencing powers.

"Accordingly, further consideration was given to potential charges of conspiracy to defraud, other offences under the Computer Misuse Act and also offences under the Fraud Act, Data Protection Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

"None were considered appropriate, in particular because any charge under those Acts would have been made to circumvent the time limit which applies to the section 1 offence.

"In one discrete matter it was determined that there was sufficient evidence to charge one suspect with an offence contrary to section 2 of the Fraud Act - fraud by false representation - but we have determined, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute that matter due to the age of the allegation and the likelihood that it would result in a nominal penalty only if the suspect were convicted. It is therefore not in the public interest to bring this matter to court now.

"Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.

"Contact has been made with all relevant parties to inform them of the outcome of this case."

Additional information

The CPS's function is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider. The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, a copy of which is provided via the link below:
www.cps.gov.uk/publications/code_for_crown_prosecutors/index.html

This assessment is based on the evidence available arising out of the police investigation and not on the evidence that is likely to be gathered by the defence, and likely to be used to test the prosecution evidence. The CPS charging decision is therefore necessarily an assessment on the basis of the evidence that is available to the CPS at the time the decision is made.

CPS prosecutors must also keep every case under review, so that they take account of any change in circumstances that occurs as the case develops, including what becomes known of the defence case. If appropriate, the CPS may change the charges or stop a case.   

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 three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area 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 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 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.