CPS West Midlands Crown Court Unit

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales. In our daily operations we work in partnership with all the agencies in the criminal justice system. We work with the police, although we are independent of them.

The West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Crown Court Unit is led by David Elliott and Sarah Hammond supported by eight District Crown Prosecutors.

We deal with some of the region's most serious criminal cases such as murder, rape, robberies, serious assaults, dwelling house burglaries, complex fraud, the supply and trafficking of drugs, and the most serious road traffic offences.

Approximately 14% of the region's criminal cases reach the local Crown Courts. These cases are prepared and prosecuted by a team of dedicated prosecutors, paralegals and administrative support staff.

West Midlands CPS has responsibility for casework from the following police areas: West Midlands, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the British Transport Police nationally.

By way of overview:

  • Cases that are destined for the Crown Court receive a review from a Crown Court lawyer prior to their first appearance in the magistrates' court. These cases are then sent to the local Crown Court for hearing, where they are subject of the joint better case management process, which has recently been introduced in all Crown Courts across the country. This has led to 50% of the cases received in this Area's Crown Courts being dealt with by way of guilty pleas being entered at an early stage.
  • Our contested work which is dealt with either by our Not Guilty Gateway Unit, which deals with trials estimated to last three days or less, offences emanating from domestic violence, burglary, assaults, or our Allocated Trials unit, which deals with the more lengthy and complicated cases such as murder, child cruelty, fraud, drug related offences and road traffic fatalities. This team also provides charging decisions to the police on these types of cases. All contested cases involving sexual allegations are dealt with by our Rasso Unit

We have seen significant changes as the Crown Court has become a digital environment. This will continue to develop as we see the introduction of the common platform allowing all criminal justice agencies to work together in a streamlined digital process.

Nationally the CPS has introduced dedicated Crown Court Liaison Managers; these are based in each of our local Crown Court centres. Their purpose is to assist in case progression by being a direct liaison link with the court service, and to provide an improved service to victims and witnesses.

As the CPS moves towards the digital 2020 programme we will continue to work with its criminal justice partners in order to take pride in the work we do and the service we provide to the wider community.

Senior Management Team

David Elliott, Senior District Crown Prosecutor

David Elliott David was born on Tyneside but moved to Worcestershire as a teenager. He joined the CPS in Thames Valley and returned to West Mercia in 2003. He has experience of prosecuting cases across the whole range of work we cover and is a Higher Courts Advocate a youth and rape specialist prosecutor. David has managed the Crown Court Not Guilty Gateway Team and he was the acting head of the Magistrates' Court Unit until 2014 when he took up his current role.

 

Sarah Hammond, Senior District Crown Prosecutor

Sarah HammondSarah qualified as a solicitor in 1996 and joined CPS in 1998 having previously worked as a Magistrates' Legal Adviser. During her time at CPS, she has undertaken Advocacy in both Magistrates' and Crown Courts across the region. She is the Area Rape and Serious Sexual Offences lead and has represented the CPS at many conferences and community forums speaking on the work of CPS on Violence Against Women and Girls. Sarah was involved in implementing the Violence Against Women and Girls Scrutiny Panel and Specialist Domestic Abuse Courts locally.  Sarah became a District Crown Prosecutor in August 2013, initially managing the Allocated Trials Unit on the Crown Court before moving to lead the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences team. Sarah is the Senior District Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for Crown Court and RASSO work.

Paul Reid, District Crown Prosecutor

Paul Reid, Disctrict Crown ProsecutorPaul was admitted as a solicitor in 1987. He worked in private practice for four years before joining the CPS in 1991. He qualified as a Crown Advocate in 2001. He became District Crown Prosecutor for the Walsall Magistrates' Unit from 2003, and in 2006 he was appointed to the role of District Crown Prosecutor for the Wolverhampton Crown Court Trials Unit. In 2011 he managed the centralised Crown Advocates Unit based in Birmingham and regularly appeared as an advocate in Crown Court. He conducted a number of trials and acted as a Junior in three murder trials. Recently Paul has moved to co-lead our Allocated Trial Unit which is responsible for prosecuting all cases involving fatalities, large scale fraud and drug related cases and trials lasting five days or more.

Stephen Davies, District Crown Prosecutor

Stephen Davies Stephen joined the Service in late 1989 working in London as a caseworker in the Central Criminal Court (CPS Inner London) and HQ Casework (Fraud Division) before qualifying in 1994 and leaving the Service for a period from 1998 onwards. He re-joined West Mercia CPS in 2002 as a Crown Prosecutor and worked in the Magistrates' Court Until 2005 when he joined the Crown Court Unit. He qualified as a Crown Advocate in 2006, and worked predominantly in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In 2014 he became the acting District Crown Prosecutor for the Not Guilty Team and in July 2015 became Head of Advocacy for the Crown Court where he manages the Crown Advocate cadre and monitors prosecution advocacy quality across the nine crown court centres in the Area. He leads for the Area on Wildlife and Heritage crime.

Jason Corden-Bowen, District Crown Prosecutor

Jason Corden-Bowen Jason joined the CPS as an administrative assistant in 1988 and gained various promotions until he became a manager in 1996. He acted as a paralegal supporting counsel in various Crown Courts Until in 2004 he was appointed as the first Case Progression Officer in the country. In 2007 Jason qualified as a Legal Executive. He prosecuted as an Associate Prosecutor in courts across the West Midlands during which time he studied law part-time at Birmingham City University. He was later recruited as a Legal Trainee and went on to qualify as a Solicitor Advocate with Higher Criminal Court Rights. Since then Jason has worked on various Magistrates' and Crown Court Units dealing with diverse cases from driving matters and shoplifting to complex frauds and multi-defendant murders. He is currently a District Crown Prosecutor co-managing the lawyer group dealing with high volume Crown Court matters on the Gateway Team and is the Crown Court Unit Hate Crime Champion.  

Irene Flynn, Senior Business Manager

Irene FlynnIrene has responsibility for the administration systems that support all of the above. Irene joined local authority prosecuting solicitors' office in 1979 working as an administrative officer. She gained various promotions until she became a manager within the Civil Service in 1986. She led the first Complex Casework Team in 1987. In the early 90's she was appointed as one of the first Associate Prosecutors in the West Midlands. In early 2000 she became the Business Manager for the Birmingham office. She has worked for the CPS for over 30 years across a wide range of duties and is assisting the movement towards a digital CPS and a paperless office.

Zoe Speake, Senior Business Manager

Zoe Speake Zoe joined the service in 1999 beginning work in the Magistrates' Unit as an administrative staff member. She has progressed through the service in the intervening years working as both a Crown Court caseworker and Associate Prosecutor. This year she took the step into a management role on the Magistrates' Court Unit. She most recently received promotion to Senior Business Manager working alongside Irene Flynn to manage the Crown Court Unit.