The Crown Prosecution Service website states as follows:
'The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales. The CPS is independent, and we make our decisions independently of the police and government.
Our duty is to make sure that the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.
- decides which cases should be prosecuted;
- determines the appropriate charges in more serious or complex cases, and advises the police during the early stages of investigations;
- prepares cases and presents them at court; and
- provides information, assistance and support to victims and prosecution witnesses.'
It might therefore come as a surprise that the CPS is committed to reviewing all prosecutions brought under the Coronavirus Act and Health Protection Regulations to make sure the new laws are being applied consistently and appropriately. Their research has revealed that three in 10 cases were incorrectly charged between 26 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.
It is fair to say that the changes to the law relating to coronavirus and its management have come at dizzying speed over the last year, but it is somewhat surprising when even the body responsible for bringing prosecutions does not seem to be able to differentiate between the law and mere guidance in such a high percentage of cases. The CPS stated that many errors involved Welsh regulations being applied in England or vice versa and admitted to using the wrong version of the rules in a number of cases.
If someone has charges brought against them under the coronavirus legislation, they may be well advised to take specialist advice from a suitably qualified solicitor because a wrongful conviction can have significant implications for an individual.
To discuss this or any other criminal matter, contact us.