Darry Robinson, advocate, Benest and Syvret, replies:
THERE are two stages in any decision to prosecute.
The first is the evidential test, which is an objective test to ascertain whether the evidence is sufficiently robust to establish a realistic prospect of a conviction.
The second stage is the public-interest test, which requires balancing factors for and against proceeding with the prosecution. There are general principles which apply in all cases, but key factors, likely to have featured in the Attorney General’s decision include:
Considering whether the offence was committed as a result of genuine mistake or misunderstanding;
What harm was caused;
Whether the offence is likely to be repeated; and
Whether a prosecution is a proportionate response.
A decision to prosecute requires a careful balance of the particular facts of each case as well as the wider picture. The application of both stages is a dynamic process and some cases may involve the reconsideration of a prosecution decision because further evidence or information comes to light during the course of the proceedings.