CPS statement in relation to alleged assault of member of Hunt Saboteurs Association

09/02/2015

In response to a number of enquiries we have received in relation to the alleged assault of a member of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, CPS South West has released the following statement:

In order to authorise charge, the CPS must be satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to prosecute. Having carefully reviewed all the evidence gathered in an investigation by Avon and Somerset police, the CPS reviewing lawyer decided there was insufficient evidence that the incident could have been foreseen, and therefore could not authorise charge.

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.

Additional Information

  • In order to prosecute in this matter, the law would require us to show either an intention to cause serious harm or that serious harm could have been foreseen.
  • This case was considered incredibly carefully, and included consideration of a reconstruction exercise by expert mounted officers from the Avon and Somerset Police
  • In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors taking all available evidence into account, there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in this matter.

Notes

The CPS' 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.

The Victims' Right or Review (VRR) scheme gives victims the right to request a review of a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decision not to prosecute or to terminate criminal proceedings. Any victim in a case where a qualifying decision has been made, is entitled to seek a review of that decision under the scheme. Members of the public who are not victims in the case may not request a review of that case under the VRR scheme.