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CPS Says - The Times and Victims' Right to Review

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A recent article in The Times (High Court Judges tell prosecutors to rethink dropping of teenage rape case, April 10) contained some inaccuracies about a recent High Court judgment (FNM v DPP).

Vitally, the original piece, which the Times later amended, incorrectly said that the CPS had told the complainant that she was not allowed to make representations under the Victims' Right To Review Scheme. In fact CPS practice has always been carefully to consider any reasons given by a complainant for requesting a review, although it is not a pre-requisite that reasons or justification should be given. A review may also be requested without any representations or submissions being made.

The court agreed that complainants may - and always have been able to - give reasons for requesting a review, but no more than that. The important point was that this is not a right, nor is there a right to delay the process to consult lawyers or to prepare detailed submissions as if it were an appeal to a higher court.

The right is to have a review, not a right to try and influence the outcome. One major reason for this is the fact that the CPS prosecutes on behalf of the State in the public interest, and not on behalf of individuals.

Central to the case was the fact the complainant let CPS know she wanted to make representations. She was asked to send them as soon as possible. Due to a misunderstanding around the wording of a CPS email, the review concluded without her representations having been received.

The complainant was given 21 days to send representations to the CPS so that a fresh decision can be made.

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