Too many rape cases being prosecuted by inexperienced barrister, says UK Watchdog

Too many inexperienced and junior prosecutors have been thrown in the deep end and asked to handle rape and sexual assault cases, according to the head of inspections at the Crown Prosecutor’s Office (CPS) in England and Wales. There is

in an interview with The Times of LondonKC’s Andrew Cayley, chief inspector of the CPS, said there was a shortage of senior barristers, with low wages being the root cause.

Last year, criminal barristers went on strike over compensation, and the government finally agreed to increase lawyers’ legal aid fees by 15%. However, the same proposal did not apply to prosecutors.

Mr Cayley said: However, the current situation is not satisfactory. The best position is for someone with the appropriate experience to prosecute. ”

Dealing with so-called rape and serious sexual offenses (lasso) is a specialized form of criminal law, but Cayley said there is a shortage of lasso prosecutors.

“Prosecutors and defense attorneys should be paid equally,” Cayley said.

He said Kentucky Attorney General Max Hill agreed with him and was “going forward with discussions with the Treasury Department to get that done.”

recently Operation Lassothe CPS said, “There are many factors that could make this a very difficult crime to prosecute, and it is well managed by highly trained and professional prosecutors.”

Kirsty Brimellow, KC, president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, raised the issue of the shortage of prosecutors when she attended Congress’ Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

She said one prosecutor told her that three “stranger” rape complainants dropped out in the first month of 2023 after trials were postponed until the end of 2023. .

Rape claimant waits up to five years for trial

Brimelow told the commission: The feedback we’re getting is that this is holistic, the witness is the system as a whole, and complainants don’t wait years. . ”

She said: “We have petitioners who say, ‘I can’t remember a couple of years ago.’ And the jury has to decide on that evidence. It completely undermines the entire prosecution case.”

According to the Criminal Bar Association, Justice Ministry data from July to September 2022 shows that 44 criminal trials have been postponed from their scheduled start dates due to a shortage of attorneys for the prosecution.

The government is committed to increasing the number of rape prosecutions and convictions, reaching historically low levels.

The number of rape prosecutions in England and Wales has fallen by 70% since 2017.

Between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, only 1.3% of allegations of rape resulted in a suspect being prosecuted.

One of the factors that can lead to charges being dropped or suspects not being charged is that the victim is intoxicated.

But new research published this week by a team at the University of Birmingham finds evidence that women can accurately recall details of sexual assaults if they’re mildly intoxicated.

Professor Heather Flow of the University’s Department of Psychology said: This means that the accounts of victims and witnesses are often contested during trials, and this is one of the reasons why so few cases result in convictions for defendants, and this needs to change. ”

research-It was published In the journal Frontiers in Psychology, based on a hypothetical scenario, a woman was asked to recall after drinking to the legal limit for driving.

The study found no evidence that women who participate in consensual sex while intoxicated may later forget that they consented or be unable to remember whether they consented.

Researchers worked with 90 women who each participated in a hypothetical rape scenario under one of four conditions.

Half of the group were given alcoholic liquids and the other half were given non-alcoholic liquids.

I then experienced a fictional scenario involving rape.

Seven days after the experiment, the women were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their memory of the scenario, and the results revealed that the women who drank alcohol were as accurate as the drinking group.

Dr. Laura Stevens, a student and co-author of the paper, added: We hope this initiative will change the way courts and expert witnesses manage the testimony of victims of rape and sexual assault. ”

PA Media contributed to this report.