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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.

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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.

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First case of ritual child flagellation ends in conviction


"The case of the first person to be convicted of child cruelty during a ritual ceremony involving flagellation makes clear the law is there to protect children", said Greater Manchester Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Carol Jackson.

Miss Jackson said: "The CPS wishes to make it clear that this prosecution was not an attack upon the practices or ceremonies of Shia Muslims. Indeed, the prosecution relied as part of its evidence upon the President of the local Shia Community Centre."

Syed Mustafa Zaidi was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of two charges of cruelty to children under the age of 16; one charge relating to a boy of 15 years and one to a boy of 13 years.

Miss Jackson said: "The law exists to protect the young from harm or being exposed to harm. In this case, both boys were made to take part in the ritual flagellation and suffered injuries to their backs.

"We are satisfied that, given the age of the children involved, the coercion employed by Syed Mustafa Zaidi, who did not accept that he was wrong, and the possibility of such an incident occurring again, the decision to prosecute by the Crown Prosecution Service was the correct one."

The court was told that Syed Mustafa Zaidi used a Zangeer Zani - a wooden handle attached to a number of chains with curved blades at the ends - to flagellate himself then made the two boys use it as well. Members of the centre were so concerned at what was happening that they intervened.

Miss Jackson said: "This is a very unusual case and the first of its kind to be prosecuted by the CPS in England and Wales."

  1. During the festival of Ashura, some Shia Muslim males flagellate themselves with a Zangeer Zani. The festival is to commemorate the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed at the battle of Karbala. The festival of Ashura began on 10 January 2008 and lasts for 40 days.
  2. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8180 or Group Communications Manager for Greater Manchester CPS on 0161 827 4977.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the authority 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
    • Presenting 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 85.1% in 2007-2008.

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    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.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol