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Crown Prosecution Service

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 10 March 1992

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To ask the Attorney-General if he will list the amendments made to the code for Crown prosecution since the publication of the annual report of the Crown prosecution service for 1990–91.

Five amendments have been made to the code for Crown prosecutors since the publication of the Crown prosecution service's annual report for 1990–91. These amendments were issued to Crown prosecutors in January 1992 and may be summarised as follows:

  • The public interest criteria
  • The public interest criteria will only arise for consideration once the Crown Prosecutor is satisfied that the evidence itself can justify proceedings.
(i) Paragraph 8

The first amendment to this paragraph emphasises that the interests of the victim are an important factor to be taken into account in determining whether or not a prosecution is required, whilst re-affirming the primacy of overall public interest considerations.

(ii) Paragraph 8

This paragraph has been further amended by the identification of "racial motivation" as an aggravating feature when considering whether the public interest requires the institution of proceedings.

(iii) Paragraph 8 (v)—Mental illness or stress

This part of the code has been re-written. It now clearly sets out that there is a rebuttable presumption that a person suffering from a mental disorder should not be prosecuted unless there is a wider public interest requirement for such action.

Mode of trial

(iv) Paragraph 18

This paragraph has been revised as a result of the Mode of Trial Guidelines contained within the Practice Note issued by the Lord Chief Justice [1990] 1 WLR 1439.

(v) Paragraph 19

The decision of the House of Lords in R v. Brentwood Justices, ex parte Nicholls means that the guidance formerly contained in this paragraph concerning the position of the co-accused in mode of trial decisions is no longer accurate. The paragraph has accordingly been deleted and other paragraphs renumbered.

Arrangements have been made for these and previous amendments to be consolidated and printed in a new booklet containing the code, which is now available for distribution. I will cause a copy to be placed in the Library of both Houses. I commend the code in its amended form to all prosecuting authorities and to those, such as the police, who are responsible for the institution of criminal proceedings.