Roads: Accidents

Attorney General written question – answered on 28th June 2022.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Attorney General, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Crown Prosecution Services threshold for deciding whether to prosecute road death offences.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk The Solicitor-General

The threshold for deciding whether to prosecute offences relating to fatal road traffic collisions in Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) cases is the same threshold that is used for all offences.

The CPS, in making decisions on whether or not a case should be prosecuted, will always apply the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code).

The Code is issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and gives guidance to prosecutors on the general principles to be applied when making decisions about prosecutions. It has been the subject of frequent reviews and public consultations, most recently in 2018, when the eighth edition was published.

The first stage of the two-stage test for prosecution (the evidential stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that there is a realistic prospect of conviction on the evidence. The second stage (the public interest stage) requires the prosecutor to be satisfied that the prosecution is in the public interest. The case will not proceed unless both stages of the test are met.

The CPS guidance on Road Traffic - Charging assists prosecutors in charging cases involving fatal road traffic collisions. It outlines the charging standards and factors for consideration when prosecution decisions are taken.

In order to ensure consistency of approach, charging decisions in all fatal collision cases are required to be approved by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP), a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor (DCCP), or a senior decision-maker nominated for the role by the CCP or DCCP.

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