A Code for Private Prosecutors was launched yesterday (18 July 2019) to improve the standard of prosecutions being brought and to assist the judiciary understand the process of a private prosecution.
The Private Prosecutors Association (PPA) was set up in 2017 and its members have expertise in bringing private prosecutions. The aim of the PPA is to assist victims of crime achieve justice when state agencies have not pursued either an investigation or prosecution. Examples of such cases include;
- The insurer DAS successfully prosecuting three of its former directors, including its then CEO Paul Asplin, for a fraud worth £15 million, for which the defendants received 15 years imprisonment.
- Paul Sultana was convicted of an £88 million fraud, for which he received eight years in prison. Again, a company had brought a private prosecution to seek justice.
In both cases the police or CPS had refused to act so, the victims, which were businesses, brought private prosecutions. No criticism is intended to the state authorities in their decisions in relation to these cases. The state authorities have to prioritise the cases they investigate and ultimately prosecute as a result of their limited resources, brought about by continuous cuts to their budget over the previous years.
It has however been widely noted by those firms with extensive experience in this area that many firms nationwide have differing standards when bringing a private prosecution. The code for Private Prosecutors aims to set a benchmark for all private prosecutors and seeks to remind them that they are acting as ‘Ministers of Justice’, which should be at the forefront of their mind when making decisions in relation to the cases they prosecute. All members of the PPA have all agreed to abide by the Code.
For more information on this article please contact Robert Readfern.