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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

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

Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood convicted


Mazher Mahmood and Alan Smith have been convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice after they were found to have planned to change a statement given to police.

Mahmood, a journalist better known as the 'Fake Sheikh' for his high-profile celebrity stories, gave evidence to police which led to singer Tulisa Contostavlos being arrested and charged with being concerned in the supply of a class A drugs.

However the defendants agreed to alter a written statement Smith gave to police in order to remove material which could have helped Ms Contostavlos' defence. This was revealed during her trial, which led to her acquittal on all charges, and to the prosecution of Mahmood and Smith for this offence

Simon Ringrose, Specialist Prosecutor in CPS Special Crime Division, said:

"Mr Mahmood portrayed himself as the master of subterfuge and as the 'King of the Sting', but on this occasion it is he and Mr Smith who have been exposed. Mahmood and Smith tampered with a statement and then attempted to cover their tracks through lies and the destruction of evidence. By piecing together the various strands in this matter, the CPS was able to present a compelling case to the jury."


Notes to Editors

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  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926