Sunday, 9 June 2013
But we have to recall that Regina does the prosecuting in the UK - not the victim (even a private prosecution is liable to being taken over or terminated by the Crown). This is because in a civilised society the State does the punishing and not individuals - not vigilantes and not victims. The decision to prosecute must be based on an objective dispassionate assessment and the 'public interest' must be the central guiding light.
Thus formalising a right for victims to seek a review of the decision to prosecute - is to be welcomed (if only to cut the number of JRs) but not at the expense of watering down the central role of the public interest and the fact that the Crown does the prosecuting and not the victim.
A good example of the hierarchy of interests is this judgment from Mitting J where the interests of the victim came third to the interests of the Defendant (presumed innocent until convicted) which came second to the public interest in the due administration of justice. Magistrates refused an adjournment of a domestic violence case because witnesses did not turn up at the right time due to CPS incompetence. A prosecution JR failed. Mitting J noted the outrage of the victim, but further noted that this was not a trump card
2. On any view, the facts of this case do not show the functioning of the criminal justice system in a good light. For reasons which they have explained in correspondence, the alleged victim of the offence and her parents have understandably been outraged by the course events have taken.
This is how the transcript of the judgment ends, the victim's father is addressing the Court directly: