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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

Prosecuting Homicide

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  1. killing with the intent for murder but where there is provocation, diminished responsibility or a suicide pact.
  2. conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and resulted in death.
  3. conduct, taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that caused death.

With some exceptions, the crime of murder is committed, where a person:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane):
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing)
  • any reasonable creature (human being)
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs)
  • under the Queen's Peace
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

There are other specific homicide offences, for example, infanticide, causing death by dangerous driving, and corporate manslaughter.

Find out more about prosecuting homicide

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 Decision: John Hogan


The Crown Prosecution Service will take no action against John Hogan in relation to the death of his son Liam in Crete on 15 August 2006.

John Hogan was tried by a Greek court and was acquitted of Liam's murder in January 2008.

Following an inquest finding of unlawful killing in March 2008, a file was passed by Avon and Somerset Police to the CPS to consider whether there was a basis for bringing a prosecution against Mr Hogan should he return to England or Wales.

In certain very limited circumstances, the Director of Public Prosecutions may apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to prosecute a person who has been acquitted and this also applies where the person has been acquitted by a court in a foreign country.

Reviewing lawyer Stephen O'Doherty from the CPS Special Crime Division said:

"In order to make such an application there must be 'new and compelling evidence' that was not available at the original trial. An examination of the court proceedings shows that there was very little dispute as to what had taken place. Mr Hogan was acquitted because of the evidence as to his state of mind at that time.

"Any 'new and compelling evidence' would have to relate to Mr Hogan's mental state as it was in August 2006. Such evidence would also have to be 'substantial' and 'highly probative' of any case against him. The Director of Public Prosecutions has concluded that there is no evidence in this category that would enable an application to be made.

"We at the Crown Prosecution Service pass our sympathies to Mrs Visser as she tries to come to terms with the untimely death of her son and the injuries caused to her daughter."

Mrs Visser has been informed of this decision.

  1. The provisions allowing for retrial in certain criminal cases, such as this one, are under s.76 Criminal Justice Act 2003 which came into force on 4 April 2005.
  2. The file was passed to the CPS in March 2008 following the Coroner's inquest, which recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
  3. The CPS and Avon and Somerset Police have had close contact over this case, but as the question of a re-trial was a legal issue, the police were not asked to carry out an investigation.
  4. The CPS requested the court records from the trial to be sent from the Greek Authorities. The records were then translated. Following this, the CPS was able to make a decision.
  5. The Director of Public Prosecutions made the decision. The file was reviewed by Stephen O'Doherty from CPS Special Crime Division.
  6. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6091.
  7. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent 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.

    More about the CPS

    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