The ‘Public Interest’ requires a PROSECUTION !
To PROSECUTE requires fulfilling two-stage test that must be satisfied:
- there must be sufficient evidence to prosecute the case; and
- it must be evident from the facts of the case, and all the surrounding circumstances, that the prosecution would be in the public interest.
“In making this decision, the prosecutor must evaluate how strong the case is likely to be when presented in court. This is an important distinction as the decision can only be made based on admissible evidence, not necessarily all the information gathered during the course of the investigation.
The evaluation must take into account such matters as the availability, competence and credibility of witnesses and their likely effect on the arbiter of fact, and the admissibility of any alleged confession or other evidence. The prosecutor should also have regard to any lines of defence open to the alleged offender and any other factors that could affect the likelihood or otherwise of a conviction.
The possibility that any evidence might be excluded by a court should be taken into account and, if that evidence is crucial to the case, this may substantially affect the decision whether or not to institute or proceed with a prosecution. It is the prosecutor’s role to look beneath the surface of the evidence in a matter, particularly in borderline cases.
Having been satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to justify the initiation or continuation of a prosecution, the prosecutor must then consider whether the public interest requires a prosecution to be pursued. In determining whether this is the case, the prosecutor will consider all of the provable facts and all of the surrounding circumstances.
The decision to prosecute must be made impartially, and must not be influenced by any inappropriate reference to race, religion, sex, national origin or political association. The decision to prosecute must not be influenced by any political advantage or disadvantage to the Government.”
(Adapted from ‘Steps in the Commonwealth Prosecution Process’)