Monday 11 March 2013

Private Prosecutions - this may not be over yet

I was feeling very depressed that the Police wouldn't take action against my accuser.

This wasn't a case where Ellie had quietly gone to a police station and made a rape accusation. No. She had gone to all of my friends and said that I raped her. She made this a very public affair.

For the last couple of weeks I have been researching what I could do. Could I sue for defamation?

The problem with Defamation is that you can't sue people that make reports to the police, even if you can prove what they said was false. There is an authority called Westcott v Westcott on that issue.

Slander is very difficult to win also. Nothing was in writing. She had verbally said that I had raped her to friends so it was going to need witnesses to recall the exact words. Even if I won the case she would of course have no money to pay damages or my legal costs.

This was a matter for the criminal courts and I just wished there was another way of doing this.

After hours and hours of searching the internet i came across some documents on Private Prosecutions. I had no idea about what a Private Prosecution was.

I started reading. What usually happens in a criminal case is that when the police investigate a crime they refer the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the CPS decide whether to charge the person or not based on the evidence.

The CPS are lawyers who prosecute cases on behalf of the Crown. All criminal cases are the Queen vs Person Accused, the CPS is just there to bring the case to court. In the case of a republic like the USA, it would be the People vs Person Accused.

With a Private Prosecution it's still the Queen v Person Accused. What different is you take the role of the CPS. Instead of the Crown Prosecutors running the case you can privately hire lawyers to bring the case to the criminal courts yourself.

In my case the police were refusing to look at the evidence. But the law said I didn't need them or the CPS. I could just get specialist lawyers and they will put a case together and Ellie will be brought to justice for the very serious charge of perverting the course of justice. She would go to trial in front of a jury, or perhaps she will apologise and plead guilty.

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