Graffiti: Prosecutions

Solicitor-General written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of John Hemming John Hemming Member, Procedure Committee, Member, Regulatory Reform Committee 5th March 2007

To ask the Solicitor-General under what circumstances the Crown Prosecution Service would prosecute a youth who is alleged to be writing graffiti tags on property.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Solicitor General, Law Officers' Department 5th March 2007

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would apply the two stage test as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The first stage is the evidential test: there has to be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

If there is, consideration has to be given to the second test, namely, whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. Relevant public interest considerations are set out in the code. A prosecution will be brought if the balance of public interest factors is in favour of a prosecution. If the youth has admitted the offence when interviewed, consideration will be given as to whether the case is suitable for diversion: in such cases, the option would be for the police to administer a reprimand or final warning.

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