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Sanders & Young's Criminal Justice

Sanders & Young's Criminal Justice (5th edn)

Lucy Welsh, Layla Skinns, and Andrew Sanders
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date: 26 February 2024

p. 3227. Prosecutions and constructing guiltlocked

p. 3227. Prosecutions and constructing guiltlocked

  • Lucy Welsh,
  • Layla Skinns
  •  and Andrew Sanders


This chapter examines whether the combination of laws, policies, and procedures of different prosecuting and enforcement agencies is fair and effective, and why an overwhelming proportion of defendants plead guilty. It discusses the respective roles of the police and Crown Prosecution Service in prosecution decision-making; how cases are constructed for prosecution; the criteria for prosecution decision-making; diversion from prosecution; review of prosecution decisions; the different treatment of ‘regulatory’ offences and ‘real’ crime; the roles of police, prosecutors, judges and defence lawyers in persuading defendants to plead guilty; the incentives, even for the innocent, to plead guilty; whether plea bargaining should be abolished.

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