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The Prosecutors

The Prosecutors focuses on how our criminal justice system works by following various prosecutions from start to finish. The series from The Open University and the BBC had exclusive fly-on-the-wall access to the CPS.

  • Updated Tuesday 27th March 2018
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under TV, Criminology, Law
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Claire Lindley, Chief Crown Prosecutors, in a courtroom Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Gold Star Productions/BBC The Crown Prosecution Service is often under scrutiny for its decision-making. Now for the very first time the CPS has allowed cameras in. Filmed over 18 months with prosecutors in Merseyside, Cheshire and the South East, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, this ground-breaking series The Prosecutors goes behind the scenes to reveal how our criminal justice system really works and what it takes to secure a conviction. Each episode focuses on a different part of the process, following prosecutions and those involved in the case from start to finish. 

As series co-producer we've provided a wealth of content to help you learn more about the Crown Prosecution Service, justice and the law. You can:

The Prosecutors was first broadcast on BBC4 on Wednesday 24th February 2016; and is being repeated in March 2018. For further broadcast details, and to watch online where available, please visit the BBC programme pages

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The Proof

Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Gold Star Productions/BBC In this episode the prosecutors deal with two violent domestic murders and the victim of an assault who is unhappy that her attacker has not been prosecuted.

In 2014 the police brought prosecutors over a hundred thousand cases of violence against women to consider. In a quarter of the cases, the CPS decided a prosecution could not go ahead.

Viv Driver-Hart can’t remember the details of the assault against her, but a huge chunk of her hair had been ripped out and she’d been knocked unconscious. Now she’s written to the CPS to appeal their decision not to prosecute under a new initiative, the Victims’ Right to Review.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Claire Lindley oversees all prosecutions in the Mersey-Cheshire area. The decision not to prosecute Viv’s attacker can only be overturned with her approval. But every decision however difficult must be based on the evidence.

Proving that the defendant committed the offence they are charged with is essential to secure a conviction. A jury must be convinced that the Prosecution team has produced evidence and presented the case so as to leave them in no doubt of guilt.

Prosecutor Richard Riley is dealing with two murder cases of women who have been killed by someone they know. In both cases there appears to be overwhelming evidence against the defendants. Police find Paul Fox attempting suicide, with his mother dead downstairs, and a note he’s written, “Warning Dead Bodies”. A witness sees David Hoyle leaving the scene with a knife, where his girlfriend has been stabbed. As the cases develop it becomes clear that securing a conviction is never straightforward. 

More on violence and identification

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
The Charge A child has been killed in a collision, how will the Prosecutors charge the driver? Read more
The Proof How do prosecutors deal with two horrific murders and a victim of an assault who is unhappy her attacker was not... Read more
The Trial How do historic cases work where changes in that law has allowed retrials but old witnesses and evidence can be hard... Read more