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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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CPS authorises charges in Twitter-related cases


Baljit Ubhey, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said: "Following early consultation with the police, the CPS has been asked to make a charging decision in respect of five suspects whom it is alleged sent offensive tweets to Stella Creasy MP and journalist and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

"We reviewed these cases in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media.

"After careful consideration of all the available evidence, the CPS has today authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge two suspects in relation to messages allegedly sent to Caroline Criado-Perez.

"Isabella Sorley, 23, from Newcastle and John Nimmo, 25, from South Shields have both been charged with improper use of a communications network under section127 of the Communications Act.

"We have also determined there is insufficient evidence to support a prosecution in respect of one suspect, whom it was alleged also sent offensive messages to Ms Criado-Perez, and have advised the police that no further action should be taken as the high threshold for prosecution has not been met.

"In respect of one other suspect, who allegedly sent offensive messages to Stella Creasy MP, we determined that although there was sufficient evidence that an offence had been committed under Section 127 of the Communications Act, it would not be in the public interest to prosecute, having applied the Director's guidelines and having particular regard to the young age and personal circumstances of the suspect.

"In relation to the fifth suspect, we have asked the police carry out further investigation before a charging decision can be made.

"We have written to both Ms Creasy and Ms Criado-Perez to inform them of these decisions.

"Isabella Sorley and John Nimmo will now appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 7 January 2014.

"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against both defendants will now be commenced and that both have 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." 


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:
  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.