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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

Couple who live streamed abuse of child sentenced


A couple from Plymouth have been jailed for 17 years after live streaming the abuse of a young child over the internet to a woman in America.

Craig Forbes and former partner Sarah Gotham were discovered during an FBI investigation into child abuse which led them to a woman in San Francisco, California. The woman admitted she had been contacting other paedophiles online, including Forbes and Gotham in the UK.

The FBI then alerted Devon and Cornwall Police who started an investigation into the couple.

Plymouth Crown Court heard yesterday (26 October) how Forbes and Gotham carried out the abuse on several occasions between December 2012 and March 2013.

Forbes, 36, was sentenced to eight years in prison with an extended licence of eight years and Gotham, 34, received nine years in prison. Both will be on the sexual offenders register for life.

Howard Phillips, from the CPS, said: "With the assistance of San Francisco Police Department and the FBI, the CPS was able to secure witness testimony from an American prisoner who later gave evidence in court; that with technical evidence found on devices seized in the USA was used to present a strong case.

"This case shows that wherever online sexual abuse is uncovered, we can work with international law enforcement agencies to pursue offenders and bring them before the courts."


Notes to Editors

  1. Howard Phillips is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS South-West.
  2. Craig Forbes pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a child. Three other counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of rape will lie on file.
  3. Sarah Gotham denied six counts of sexual assault of a child but was convicted by a jury.
  4. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  5. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233