New approach has led to collapse in number of defendants charged, say activists.
Written by Caelainn Barr and Owen Bowcott, The Guardian
A women’s rights group has launched a legal challenge against the Crown Prosecution Service over its failure to pursue rape cases amid allegations of a covert change in policy on how it handles the crime.
On Tuesday, the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition formally lodged proceedings in the high court against the CPS, alleging that its internal practices have led to a collapse in the number of defendants charged.
Last year, the Guardian reported that a training session at the CPS encouraged prosecutors to take the “weak cases out of the system” to improve its conviction rate. The CPS maintains there has been no change in its approach to prosecuting rape.
The EVAW campaigns manager, Rebecca Hitchens, said: “Every day survivors of rape are being failed by a criminal justice system which appears to have effectively decriminalised rape. We argue that CPS leaders have quietly changed their approach to decision-making in rape cases, switching from building cases based on their ‘merits’ back to second-guessing jury prejudices.”