A PROPOSAL put forward by the family of Jane Clough in light of her death that would give greater powers to the prosecution, has been welcomed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
After meeting Jane’s parents John and Penny at the Crown Prosecution Headquarters in London, Keir Starmer QC said he supported the notion that would give the CPS the right to appeal against a judge’s decision.
Jane was murdered by ex-partner Jonathan Vass who was on bail at the time following a string of rape charges against her. Two weeks ago the Bail Amendment proposal was taken before Parliament where the Government agreed “in principle” the need to change the law.
Mr Starmer said: “I have come to the view we would welcome the introduction of such a power for the prosecution.
“Where it was felt a judge had got a decision on bail wrong, and the interests of victims and the wider public demanded such a decision be challenged, this would be regarded as a useful and appropriate option for the prosecution to have available to it.”
A number of other issues arising from the murder of the Barrowford nurse were also discussed including rape charges being laid on file. Vass was not tried for the rape allegations but instead were ordered to lay on file - something which the Cloughs strongly contested.
Mr Starmer said: “I have also given my undertaking we will consult, both inside and outside the CPS, on draft guidance on prosecuting offences of rape when a further very serious offence, such as murder, has also been committed.
“In these cases we will consult on what factors, other than that of the likely sentence to be imposed, we should consider before asking for rape offences to be made to lie on file, particularly those factors affecting the families of victims.”
John said: “This is a significant step in our campaign and we thank Mr Starmer for his support. He agreed he would change the CPS policy from informing families of this decision to consulting with them, and giving appropriate time for this to be carried out. This effectively was a major step forward in the Justice for Jane campaign to see this practice of laying rape charges on file made more transparent, and for victims and families to have some voice in this process.”