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Crown Prosecution Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Solicitor-General – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 2nd April 2009.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough 10:30 am, 2nd April 2009

What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service's charging policy in cases of repeated fraud; and if she will make a statement.

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

The decision on whether or not to prosecute is taken in accordance with the principles set out in the code for Crown prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

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Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Labour, Slough

The Solicitor-General has been very helpful to me, and to my constituents, in the case of a major fraud, but one of the problems with fraud is that of repeat, relatively minor frauds. My constituent, Parmanjeet Sandhu, has been a victim of a woman whom she knows as Suzanne Halim. This perpetrator also goes under the name of Soad Al Majeed and has many other aliases, but is not being prosecuted because the Crown Prosecution Service does not believe that it can secure a conviction. One of the phenomena about fraudsters is that they are very good at covering their tracks, so will the Solicitor-General talk to the CPS about whether there are better ways to protect our constituents against repeat fraudsters?

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office

My hon. Friend is a fierce defender of her constituents' rights, and she has come to me with an earlier case. I am grateful to her for saying that I have been helpful—I hope that I can be as helpful on this matter. The calibre of the police investigation is what matters, but it is always open to the police to look again at a case if additional information emerges. In this case, it sounded to me as though she may have additional information in which the police might be interested. As she says, I believe rightly, the case is not going to be prosecuted as things stand, so I urge her to make the appropriate contacts.

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