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The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

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101-year-old man found guilty of historic sex abuse


A 101-year-old man has today (Friday 16 December) been found guilty of 21 sexual offences which he committed over two decades.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard how between 1974 and 1983 Ralph Clarke, from Erdington, abused the three victims at his home, his garden shed and in his lorry.

The decision to prosecute him was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Clarke's age and well-being were considered but given the serious nature of the offences, breach of trust and vulnerability of the young victims, it was decided that a prosecution was in the public interest.

The prosecution team also provided investigative advice to the police, helped identify further witnesses and other material evidence and they examined a total of 85 documents.

Today Clarke has been found guilty of the following offences:

  • Indecent assault x 12
  • Indecency with a child x 9

He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to commit buggery, five counts of indecent assault on male and two counts of indecency with a child.

The defendant will be sentenced on Monday 19 December. 

Claire Nicholls, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said:

"Ralph Clarke used fear and intimidation to control his victims and sexually abuse them. He took full advantage of their young age and the situation in order to carry out his offences.

"For over 40 years Clarke thought that he had got away with his crimes. Due to the courage of the victims we were able to bring him to justice and I would like to thank them for their support throughout this difficult and sensitive prosecution." 


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