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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

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Child killer, 77 years, convicted of raping girl in 1970s


Edward Campbell, a 77-year-old man from London who killed three of his children in 1974, has today been convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court of sexually abusing a girl between 1963 and 1973.

Campbell was found guilty of eight charges, including rape and buggery, following a trial which began on 15 November 2010.

Kay Scudder, reviewing lawyer and rape specialist from CPS London, said:

"The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the brave victim of rape and child abuse who supported our case to seek justice almost fifty years after her terrible ordeal began. She had been sexually abused throughout her childhood, starting when she was just four years old, and only ending horrifically ten years later when, after killing three of his own children, Campbell was sent to prison.

"But the victim, now in her fifties, has this month given evidence against Campbell for the sexual abuse she faced as a child.  He is now aged 77 and he has been convicted of rape, buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency.

"No-one looking at the facts of this case would fail to be horrified by the nature of this abuse.  Having put together the prosecution case, I am pleased that after so many years justice has finally been secured for the victim and that Campbell will now face punishment."

The sexual abuse escalated over a ten year period between 1963 and 1973 when the victim was aged between four and 14 years old.

The offending came to an end in 1974 after Campbell strangled three of his own children. When the case came to trial the defendant was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and grievous bodily harm after a psychiatric report ruled he had been depressed at the time of the killings.

Kay Scudder continued:

"From a very early stage in this investigation I have worked alongside the police as we prepared this case for prosecution.

"As with all victims of sexual offences, the victim in this case was offered the opportunity to give her evidence behind screens but she chose to stand in open court."

The defendant will be sentenced at a later date.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 12 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. The CPS employs around 8,316 people and prosecuted 982,731 cases with a conviction rate of 86.8% in the magistrates' courts and 80.7% in the Crown Court in 2009-20010. Further information can be found on the CPS website
  5. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media