...in fact, the jury succeeded where the CPS failed. As your columnist, Joshua Rozenberg, points out:
Evans is only the latest in a series of high-profile defendants to be found not guilty of sexual assault. Inevitably, questions are being asked about why the CPS brought charges in the first place. It is, after all, the job of the CPS to filter evidence obtained by the police.
Before bringing a prosecution, the CPS must decide whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction and whether a prosecution would be in the public interest.Note that: ‘the public interest’. Not the interest of the pressure groups fighting to change our justice system (and disgracefully being given a sympathetic ear by the establishment).
Those who objected to the more cautious approach that used to be taken by the CPS complained that prosecutors seemed particularly reluctant to allow cases of sexual assault to go to trial.
These are notoriously difficult for juries. Often, there are just two witnesses to the alleged offence: the complainant and the defendant. Juries must decide which one of them is telling the truth. The most telling charge against the CPS is that it has been too willing to listen to those who told it to bring charges even if the evidence was not very strong, and simply "leave it to the jury to decide".
But the message from juries to the CPS is very clear: if you produce the evidence, we'll convict the defendants. But if you don't, we won't.Don’t worry. Kier Starmer has plans to fix this!