The primary role of the State is to act to prevent disorder and maintain stability in society. It is on this basis that the State apprehends culprits that disturb the peace and brings them to criminal courts who then decided on whether the punishment warrants sentencing to prison to prevent future disruption of the State, or whether this objective can be attained through a lesser level of punishment. Fines are levied to be made payable to the State because the offence is seen as having caused a disorder or distress to the functioning of the State. On the other hand, justice is about the rights of victims of crimes and what they deserve in compensation for what they have suffered, so that fines imposed by society must be made payable to the victim.
The fundamental principle of justice is to have the truth out in the open for all of society to see. Whether an alleged offender has committed a crime that deserves punishment in terms of a fine or a prison term is of secondary importance in this regard. Above all, the victim needs to feel that a criminal has not succeeded in hiding his crimes from the public by the absence of court proceedings. If he does not feel that what he has suffered at the hands of a perpetrator has been aired and placed on record he will suffer mentally for a long time as he does not see that a closure to the incident at an adequate level of satisfaction to his mind has been achieved.
A victim of crime looks to the State to protect him and to see an offender is punished in the way that really hurts as much as he was hurt by the crime so as to be a deterence to similar future conduct for the perpetrator and thereby for the rest of society to take heed. Civil actions result in financial gains or losses which do not adequately compensate a victim as generating the appropriate retribution on the offender. In the United Kingdom, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes the overwhelming majority of crimes, but these are limited by the restrictions placed upon the Police in both resources available to investigate reports of crimes and on the law itself on what constitutes a crime from the State’s point of view for the CPS is an arm of the State. When a citizen is dissatisfied with the Police and the CPS and sees an offender freely living on the benefits that have accrued to him or her from his or her crime and especially when he sees that the offender has not even been brought to criminal court to face an examination of his or her actions he sees that justice has not only not been done it patently has not been seen to have been done. The facility for implementing private prosecutions of the offender offers the victim the scope for action that he has done all that could possibly have been done to access justice for he would have tested the limits of the judicial system in operation. The State should therefore actively encourage this process in an emancipated society where victims who behave well sees that the State rewards good conduct and punishes bad conduct. When the CPS does not prosecute the victim must not be left without any recourse of bringing an offender to face a judge with the powers to sentence criminals on behalf of the victim. Private prosecutions are funded by the individual members of society at their own cost so is not something that will be underaken by a person lightly. Its availability underlines the philosophy of considering human rights as the basis for Law and Order in terms specifically of justice for the victim of crimes.
In the United Kingdom the correct course for the citizen to take would be first to approach the Police to see if it will investigate a crime because CPS takes its directions to prosecute only from the Police or some other State institutions with legal powers. If the Police does not investigate a reported incident as a crime or makes the decision to forward the case to the CPS to consider to see if the evidence warrants prosecution, this should be done entirely transparently with the report of the Police to the CPS and the decision of the CPS being available separately to the victim for use in considering whether he or she may wish to go through the time and expense of conducting a private prosecution instead. Further, in his decision on whether to issue summons on the perpetrator the Clerk to the Magistrates needs to take into account the expressed views of the Police and CPS and whether these views should be overridden by the case presented by the informant as the victim whose feelings are of primary importance in terms of retribution for the suffering endured.
Case Proceedings The considerations and processes outlined above do not currently operate within the British Justice System. Notwithstanding, private prosecution proceedings have been formalised by me at the Office of Clerk to Kent Justices officiating from Maidstone Magistrates’ Court, Palace Avenue, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6LL. Tel: 01622 680065; DX 152303 Maidstone 19.
Summons have not yet been issued.
I need to see how far I can go in this private prosecution in terms of the issues that crop up. I have not been told anything as yet about Court Fees for example and it is clear that the facilities of the Ministry of Justice has already been made available for the matter of the considerations of the issue of summons without any demand for Fees being made on me for this purpose. As the prosecutor I will not have any solicitor or barrister costs so that the entire process may be conducted free of cost to the applicant, which is how it should be if summons are issued.