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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Crimes involving young people

Young people as victims and witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support young victims and witnesses and treat them with dignity.

Find out more about how we support young victims and witnesses

Youth crime

The Crown Prosecution Service acts in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the youth justice board, children's services, courts and youth offending teams. Each area of the CPS has a youth justice specialist who oversees the prosecution of youth crime in their area.

Find out more about how we prosecute youth crime

CPS announce Michael Donovan charging decision


Peter Mann, Head of CPS West and North Yorkshire Complex Case Unit, today made the following statement in relation to the disappearance and subsequent discovery last Friday, 14 March, of Shannon Matthews:

"The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closely with the police in connection with this case since the arrest of Michael Donovan, also known as Paul Blake, on Friday 14th March.

"As the case has developed we have been carefully examining and assessing the evidence in order to come to a charging decision at the earliest possible opportunity.

"Having carefully considered all of the material supplied by West Yorkshire Police, we have made the decision that there is sufficient evidence and have authorised that Michael Donovan should be charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. We will continue to keep this case under constant review as it develops.

"At this time I would like to remind you of the need to take care in reporting the events surrounding this case. Michael Donovan stands accused of this offence and has the right to a fair trial.

"It is extremely important that there should be responsible media reporting which should not prejudice the due process of law."

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8079.
  2. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on this website.