Usually a prosecution is brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after a police investigation. Sometimes, however, the police or the CPS may decide against prosecution as they consider that there is either insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and/or they consider that the case is not in the public interest to prosecute. These decisions can sometimes be questionable and can leave genuine victims feeling completely let down.
A remedy available to private individuals is to bring a private prosecution. Initiating a private prosecution, or even simply indicating that a private prosecution will be taken, can bring pressure to bear upon the investigators and/or the CPS to take the case more seriously.
The right to instigate a private prosecution is also available to organisations and can often offer a more effective remedy than civil litigation. For example, privately prosecuting offences committed against your organisation provide a good deterrent to others due to the powers of the criminal courts including the recovery of loss through confiscation proceedings, the award of compensation, the sentences for those found guilty (including a custodial sentence) and a criminal record. It is also possible in some cases to apply for costs from central funds so that costs may be recovered regardless of the financial means of the defendant.
It is also possible to use both civil and criminal proceedings alongside each other in appropriate cases.
For more information and to find our how we can help you, please contact our Motoring, Crime and Regulatory Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Dan Hart, Solicitor Advocate in our Motoring, Crime and Regulatory Team.