The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the main prosecuting authority in England and Wales. In our daily operations we work in partnership with all agencies in the criminal justice system. We work especially closely with the police, although we are independent of them.
The CPS has 14 Areas across England and Wales and CPS London South Area is one of two Areas in the Greater London Area (CPS London North being the other). It covers the London boroughs south of the River Thames and also includes Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. As well as prosecuting cases investigated by the Metropolitan Police in South London boroughs, the Area also prosecutes cases investigated by City of London Police.
Chief Crown Prosecutor Claire Lindley is the head of CPS London South and is supported by Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Kris Venkatasami, who has responsibility for Magistrates’ and Domestic Abuse teams, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jonathan Storer, who has responsibility for Crown Court unit, and Lynette Woodrow, who has responsibility for the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit and a pan-London Complex Casework Unit. Wray Ferguson is the Area Business Manager and has responsibility for Business and Operational Delivery functions across the region.
We currently employ approximately 470 members of staff which consists of lawyers, paralegals and administrators. Our teams are based in offices near Victoria. We also have a small number of remote staff based in CPS offices in Cardiff.
The Area is supported by a Business Centre which houses a team of specialists in the fields of performance, finance, human resources, communications and inclusion.
Executive Team Toggle accordion
Claire Lindley, Chief Crown Prosecutor
Claire joined the CPS in 1987. Previously she was the CCP of the North West and Mersey-Cheshire Areas. She is a barrister and was called to the Bar in 1986, having studied Law at both Nottingham University (LLB) and London School of Economics (LLM). Claire is a Crown Advocate and Bencher of Gray's Inn.
She is committed to the prosecution of violence against women and represented the CPS in a subcommittee of the UN in the Far East which was considering how countries can work together in eliminating crimes against women in society. In her personal life, Claire is married to a solicitor and has two children.
Kris Venkatasami, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Kris is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for all magistrates’ court and domestic abuse prosecutions in London South. He took on the position in June 2017 after having spent three years as DCCP in CPS South East.
Kris has spent much of his career working in London, progressing to become Senior District Crown Prosecutor, responsible for Crown Court and magistrates’ court work across North West London. He then moved to head up the Special Casework Unit in the capital, dealing with a number of high profile cases, including the Lord McAlpine Twitter case.
In 2013, he was appointed a temporary Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in London, looking after magistrates’ court work, before joining South East.
Jo Coleman, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Jo is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP) responsible for Crown Court cases in London South. She joined the CPS 18 years ago as a Senior Crown Prosecutor (SCP) in Thames Valley. Prior to that she was a defence solicitor in private practice for seven years.
Having worked as an SCP, Jo was appointed a District Crown Prosecutor (DCP) in 2003 and undertook a number of DCP roles over the Magistrates’ and Crown Court teams across Thames Valley and then Thames and Chiltern, following the restructure of CPS Areas.
Jo had a period as acting Senior DCP heading the Complex Casework Unit (CCU) in Thames Valley in 2010. She also undertook a role as project manager for rolling out digital working in Thames and Chiltern in 2012.
In June 2014 she became DCCP in CPS Thames and Chiltern. She led the Magistrates’ Court team until May 2017 when she took over as DCCP for the Crown Court, CCU and RASSO teams in Thames and Chiltern. She joined London South as DCCP in August 2019.
Lynette Woodrow, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor
Lynette Woodrow is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor with responsibility for the pan London Complex Casework Unit and Rape and Serious Sexual Offence (RASSO) prosecutions in South London. She joined the CPS 2008 and came to the London CPS in 2014. Before her current position, Lynette had specialised in prosecuting domestic abuse cases and cases and vulnerable victims for most of her career.
In 2016 she was promoted temporarily to Senior District Crown Prosecutor on the Magistrates’ Court team for advocacy and was the London lead for domestic abuse advocacy. Lynette became the DCCP for RASSO and CCU in 2018 and is the national CPS lead for modern slavery.
Wray Ferguson, Area Business Manager
Wray started her career in the Department of Employment in 1975, transferring to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) in 1976. During her time in HMCTS, she had a number of roles. These included casework, listing, management, training and HR. In 1994 she became the Group Chief Clerk for the North Wales and Chester County Court Group, transferring in 1997 to the role of Court Manager for the North Wales and Chester Crown Court Group.
Wray joined the CPS in 2004, as the Area Business Manager for North Wales. Following the 2011 Area restructure, Wray took on the role of Business Change and Delivery Manager in CPS Cymru/Wales. In January 2014 she became a member of the project team responsible for development and delivery of the new national CPS Proceeds of Crime service.
In January 2015 she was promoted to ABM for CPS Mersey-Cheshire and in August 2015, she was appointed as Area Business Manager for CPS North West. Wray joined CPS London South in March 2018 as Area Business Manager and has overall responsibility for the Operational Delivery and Business Operations for the Area.
Magistrates’ Court Unit Toggle accordion
Our Magistrates’ Court Unit prosecutes offences of domestic abuse, assaults, criminal damage, minor public disorder incidents, all but the most serious traffic offences, possession of drugs, dangerous dog offences, offences of dishonesty and commercial burglaries. The list is not exhaustive but generally comprises of any offence where the maximum permitted sentence for each offence does not exceed six months' imprisonment or one year if two or more relevant offences are to be considered.
Crown Court Unit Toggle accordion
The Crown Court Unit deals with cases such as attempted murder, robberies, serious assaults, dwelling house burglaries, complex fraud and the supply and trafficking of drugs.
Complex Casework Unit Toggle accordion
The unit deals with the most complex criminal cases in North and South London. Made up of highly experienced and skilled lawyers and paralegal officers, the team has in the last year gained the first successful prosecution for female genital mutilation and also the first two unregistered school prosecutions. The unit works closely with the police in London (Metropolitan and City of London) to tackle serious and organised crime, including trafficking, large scale drugs importation and distribution, and money laundering.
Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Unit Toggle accordion
The RASSO Unit is a dedicated and specialised team which prosecutes cases such as rape, serious sexual offences, child abuse, child sexual exploitation and so-called 'honour based' violence. The staff on the unit all have a great deal of understanding of the sensitivities of prosecuting cases of this nature and how difficult and harrowing it can be for a victim from the first step of making a complaint to the police, through to giving evidence in a trial.
Working with you
CPS London South continues to engage with the diverse communities that we serve in order to ensure that we make this region a safer place to live, work and visit.
We acknowledge that public trust is measured against our ability to work with members of our local communities in key areas. To this end we have two community panels that work on a pan-London basis – one that focusses specifically on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and one that has a wider remit and will for instance look at cases involving hate crime.
Our aim is to inform, listen, work with and in turn, be informed by those living and working across south London.