CPS Counter-Terrorism Division talks to young people in Bristol

29/01/2010

Bethan David and Moira Macmillan, leading prosecutors from the CPS Counter-Terrorism Division in London, visited Bristol on Thursday 28 January to talk to an audience of young people about their work, how they make their decisions and examples of cases th

Talking at the event, Barry Hughes, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Avon and Somerset said:  "The CPS works on behalf of the public and we want to be as open as possible about our work. We welcome opportunities to explain how we reach our decisions and it is vital we have a debate with young people, who are particularly affected by our prosecution of terrorist cases. There is a false picture that Islamic extremism forms the bulk of the terrorist cases we deal with when in fact we also prosecute many cases of far right extremism."

The CPS Counter Terrorism Division is a team of specialist Crown Prosecutors who deal with terrorism, crimes involving incitement to racial and religious hatred, crimes against humanity, war crimes, hijacking and espionage cases. The division includes highly experienced lawyers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice. Approximately one third of all its staff come from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds. Their work is sensitive and they need to balance public safety with important freedoms and the need to promote equality and community cohesion.

The event covered issues such as how the CPS gathers evidence, makes sure it prosecutes fairly across all groups, applies prosecution policies equally to all defendants and what it has learned from prosecuting and preventing terrorism. Prosecutors talked about high profile cases they have been involved in, such as the 7/7 and 21/7 bombings in London in 2005 and the prosecution of far right extremists Martyn Gilleard and Neil Lewington. They also discussed the Isa Ibrahim case, where information from the Muslim community in Bristol was vital in securing a successful conviction last year.

Bethan David and Moira Macmillan of the CPS Counter-Terrorism Division said:
"We were pleased to be invited to Bristol to talk about our work. It is important that young people have a greater understanding of how the CPS prosecute terrorist and race hate crime and the complexities involved in these cases. We look forward to being involved in similar lively discussions in the future."

You can find out more about the CPS Counter-Terrorism Division and recent cases by visiting www.cps.gov.uk (search under counter-terrorism).

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Notes for editors

For further information, contact CPS South West Press Office on 0117 930 1343 or 0117 930 1344

The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:

  • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
  • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
  • Preparing cases for court
  • Presenting cases at court

The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk

The CPS South West Group consists of the areas Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and Gloucestershire.