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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

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

Lee O'Donnell and twins Paul and Gregory Spicer convicted of £2 million fraud at Lewes Crown Court


David Richardson, head of the non-fiscal division within the Crown Prosecution Service's Central Fraud Group, said:

"Lee O'Donnell and twins Paul and Gregory Spicer have been convicted by a jury at Lewes Crown Court, sitting in Brighton, of conspiracy to defraud innocent members of the public.  Their crime spanned nearly five years, between April 2003 and February 2008, led the investigation as far a-field as Dubai and Hong Kong, and amounted to around £2 million.

"The defendants sent out a series of mail-shot betting campaigns aimed at duping ordinary people into subscribing to their racing tips on telephone hotlines, promising a 'money back guarantee' for anyone unhappy with the tips or service.  However, they almost never returned customers' money when they complained, and the phone lines would 'go dead' after a few months leaving their victims with no way to protest about their missing refunds.

"And once they'd cultivated the trust of enough people, the defendants committed their most audacious crime in asking customers to invest up to £20,000 in a fictional 'bloodstock' Australian racehorse.  Great returns were promised but never materialised and instead the money disappeared into the pockets of the conspirators.

"The people they tricked often lost many thousands of pounds, some losing their entire life savings.  These are intelligent individuals, many of whom are professionals, who were reassured by the authentic-looking brochures and the defendants' sophisticated tactics.

"In order to prove this case, the CPS considered almost 5000 pages of evidence and secured financial evidence from Hong Kong.  These convictions follow a thorough investigation by Sussex Polices Major Fraud Unit and close collaboration with the London Borough of Merton's Trading Standards officers. We'd like to thank all those who came forward to give evidence against the conspirators."