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Terror offences - charges left to lie on file

|News, Terrorism

A story in the Sunday Telegraph - 'Prosecutors allow dozens of charges brought against terrorists to 'lie on file' - has incorrectly claimed the CPS is allowing charges to lie on file for defendants accused of terror offences as part of “sweetheart deals”.

We refute this in the strongest terms. It is categorically untrue that conviction rates have anything to do with our decision making.

Our counter terrorism team is staffed by highly trained prosecutors who are dedicated to helping to protect the public and bringing these dangerous offenders to justice wherever possible. To suggest anything else is ludicrous.

We always prosecute terrorists for the most serious offences possible based on the available evidence to give the court sufficient sentencing powers

All of these cases are individually assessed on their own merits.

Less serious offences are only allowed to lie on file where the criminal behaviour is covered by more serious charges and where there would be no difference to the sentence passed. This is in no way a ‘deal’ - we lay the facts of the offending before the court and the decision whether to allow some counts to lie on file is ultimately made by the judge.

It is completely untrue that any deals were made in the cases raised with us by the Telegraph. There are reasons why these cases are misleading and irrelevant examples of the claims made.

For instance:

  • A number are where there were lesser offences subsidiary to the main charge and often there so that if there was a trial and acquittal on the main charge the jury is able to convict of less serious offences.
  • A number relate to cases where there is possession of several documents and pleas to all the charges will make absolutely no difference to the sentence - they have not been dropped but are left on file so they can be resurrected in the future if it becomes necessary.
  • Some will be discontinued or the CPS will need to have taken a view on proceeding due to information that becomes available later. This could be evidence or information that affects the case against one or more defendants and means that we cannot proceed.

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