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Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division (SCCTD)

The CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division deals with some of our most high profile and demanding cases.

There are three operational units within SCCTD:

    The team deals with sensitive cases such as deaths in custody, election offences and corporate manslaughter. As well as the police, they work alongside specialist investigators from organisations including the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Health and Safety Executive.

    Special Crime lawyers advise on and, where appropriate, prosecute some of the most sensitive and demanding cases across England and Wales. As well as high profile cases such as prosecutions related to the Hillsborough disaster, they manage cases which involve criminal allegations against police officers following investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. 

    The team has offices in York and London but the following types of cases will be referred to Special Crime from across England and Wales:

    • disasters
    • deaths in custody or following police contact
    • assisted suicide 
    • serious criminal allegations against police officers 
    • corporate manslaughter 
    • gross negligence medical manslaughter 
    • election offences 
    • cases involving high profile individuals such as MPs 
    • criminal allegations against CPS and National Crime Agency (NCA) employees, and 
    • leaks of confidential information by public officials to journalists

    The needs of victims and witnesses are a priority for us and it is now our practice, in appropriate cases, to invite victims or their families to meetings so we can update them on the progress of their cases and, once a decision is made, to explain its basis and answer any questions they may have.

    The majority of the team’s work involves prosecuting terrorism cases, which have rapidly increased in number and complexity in recent years. They also deal with all allegations of incitement to racial and religious hatred, war crimes and crimes against humanity, official secrets cases, piracy and hijacking. 

    The Counter Terrorism Division is responsible for prosecuting all terrorism crimes and terrorist related offences in England and Wales. The Division has expanded in recent years, in response to the increase in the number, and complexity of cases. Terrorism offences are distinct from other types of crime in that individuals who commit them have political, religious racial and/or ideological motivations. The team works alongside specialist units in the Metropolitan Police, and are four other police Counter Terrorism Units (CTUs) around the country.

    While the majority of the Division’s caseload involves terrorism offences, it also deals with all allegations of:

    • incitement to racial and religious hatred 
    • stirring up hatred based on sexual orientation 
    • war crimes and crimes against humanity 
    • official secrets cases and 
    • piracy and hijacking.

    This team provides a specialist service to the three most senior appellate courts in England and Wales - the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court. They deal with judicial reviews, appeals against conviction or sentence and support the Attorney General’s Office in the Unduly Lenient Sentence appeals. ARU also has responsibility for the formal review stage of the Victims' Right to Review (VRR) Scheme.

    The unit:

    • conducts judicial reviews and case stated appeals in the Administrative Court in which the CPS is named as party, including judicial reviews of decisions made by local CPS Areas to prosecute or not to prosecute a case
    • conducts the majority of appeals against conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal, and
    • supports the Attorney General's Office in the administration of Unduly Lenient Sentence appeals
    • has responsibility for the centralised, formal review stage of the Victims' Right to Review (VRR) Scheme.

    ARU cases involve the practice of specialist civil as well as criminal law and procedure. They are often high profile, sensitive cases which can have an impact upon the development of case law and the wider criminal justice system as well as on the lives of the individuals directly involved.

    The VRR Scheme gives victims of crime and bereaved families a clear mechanism through which they can obtain a full reconsideration of certain decisions not to proceed with their case. The ARU is responsible for conducting these independent reviews in VRR cases where local resolution has not been possible.

    Executive team of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division

    Jenny Hopkins

    Jenny Hopkins is Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism DivisionJenny Hopkins is Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division.

    She was originally a solicitor in private practice before joining CPS London in 1998 as a Senior Crown Prosecutor and then became a legal manager.

    Jenny joined CPS Policy in 2003 and was responsible for the team that produced the Prosecution Team Disclosure Manual. In 2005 she became the Unit Head in the Organised Crime Division before returning to CPS London in 2010 as the Head of Homicide.

    Between 2011 and 2014 Jenny was the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor in CPS London with responsibility for the Complex Casework Unit, which comprised of the homicide, rape and serious sexual offences, and special casework teams. She then became Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East of England before moving to SCCTD in November 2018.

    Bethan David

    Bethan David is the interim Head of the Counter Terrorism Division.

    Bethan qualified as a Solicitor in private practice and joined the Crown Prosecution Service in 2002, obtaining Higher Rights of Audience in 2005. In 2006 Bethan joined the Counter Terrorism Division and has handled many high-profile cases involving terrorism, national security and allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the prosecution of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale for the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. She has been junior counsel on several terrorist trials, such as the Supreme Court case of Mohammed Gul.

    In 2015 Bethan became a Unit Head on the Counter Terrorism Division managing casework and policy on the division and leading on a range of strategic issues. From 2007 to 2019 she was the CPS National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism.

    In 2018 Bethan was appointed as a Temporary Deputy Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism spending time working across the three divisions, before reverting to her role in the Counter Terrorism Division. In 2020 she was appointed interim Head of the Counter Terrorism Division. Bethan now works with the team on the most serious and complex cases, while maintaining a small personal caseload.

    Terrorism - read more

    Rosemary Ainslie

    Rosemary Ainslie is Interim Head of Special Crime Division.

    Rosemary is a barrister called to the Bar of Northern Ireland and the Bar of England and Wales. Rosemary joined the CPS in 2003 following a civil and criminal practice at the self-employed Bar.

    Rosemary became a Crown Advocate with North Yorkshire CPS in 2005 appearing as junior counsel regularly in the Crown Court in cases of serious assaults and sexual offences including a lengthy racially aggravated attempted murder trial.

    Rosemary joined Special Crime Division in 2007 as a Specialist Prosecutor and was appointed as a Senior Specialist Prosecutor in 2012 dealing with a wide range of death in custody cases including prison deaths, police shootings and deaths following restraint. Rosemary became Unit Head of Special Crime York in 2015.

    Rosemary was the CPS Advisor to the Williams Review of Gross Negligence Manslaughter in Healthcare commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health in 2018 and CPS Advisor to the Marx/Hamilton Independent Review of Gross Negligence Manslaughter in 2019. She has written the CPS Guidance on Corporate Manslaughter and the Guidance on Gross Negligence Manslaughter.

    Rosemary was appointed Interim Head of Special Crime in 2019 managing the Special Crime teams in London, York and Hillsborough.

    Karen Harrold

    Karen Harrold profile photoKaren Harrold is Head of the Appeals and Review Unit (ARU).

    Karen qualified as a Solicitor in private practice in Hampshire before joining the Crown Prosecution Service from its inception in 1986 and has worked in a number of CPS Areas handling the full range of criminal cases.  She also advised the Attorney General for four years on a wide range of criminal/civil law and policy issues including human rights, contempt and development of new legislation.

    Karen then became Chief Crown Prosecutor for Wiltshire in 2004. In 2010, Karen was seconded to work with the Hillsborough Independent Panel providing legal advice to Panel Members and then returned to CPS HQ to advise the Director of Public Prosecutions on the most serious criminal cases and handle high profile projects. She also became an Assistant Coroner in Hampshire in 2010 and later in West Sussex handling the full range of coronial cases including prison deaths and medical negligence inquests.

    She became Head of the Appeals and Review Unit in 2017.

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