Ex CPS chief defends prosecutors over Caroline Flack court case as he hits out at trolls on social media
- Questions have been raised about CPS’s decision to pursue case against Flack
- Flack’s death after she found out she would face trial over an alleged assault
- Nazir Afzal, explained why the CPS decides to prosecute cases of domestic abuse, even when the complaint has been withdrawn
A former chief prosecutor has defended the CPS over pursuing charges against Caroline Flack and has hit out at social media trolls.
Questions have been raised about the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to pursue a court case against the former Love Island presenter following her death on Saturday.
Her death came just hours after she found out she would face trial over the alleged assault of her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27 – despite him not wanting to press charges.
Nazir Afzal, a former CPS prosecutor for the North West, posted a series of tweets hitting out at online trolls and explaining why the CPS decides to prosecute cases, even when the complaint has been withdrawn.
Pictured: Lewis Burton with Caroline Flack, who was facing charges of alleged assault
Mr Afzal said there were 750,000 reports of domestic violence last year to police, but only 75,000 were prosecuted, and 75 per cent of those convicted.
And more than 120 domestic homicides were prosecuted without any victim evidence, he said.
Mr Afzal added: ‘It’s to avoid the latter that prosecutors pursue the former. But only when there are allegations of serious violence and there is other strong evidence available such as 999 call recordings, police body worn camera, statements and interview.
‘Sometimes you need to protect someone even when they can’t see it themselves.
Nazir Afzal, a former CPS prosecutor for the North West, posted a series of tweets hitting out at online trolls and explaining why the CPS decides to prosecute cases of domestic abuse, even when the complaint has been withdrawn.
‘However you must judge each case on its merits. Prosecutors make decisions without fear of favour – I can assure you the celebrity status or otherwise is irrelevant.
‘Most offenders prosecuted aren’t even famous in their own homes’.
In the string of tweets, Mr Afzal also took aim at online trolls and the ‘cult of celebrity’.
He said: ‘The dehumainising of our social media victims means we say anything we like about them without consequences for us, even when consequences for our target can be terrible.
‘Don’t forget there are degrees of harm, short of pushing someone to believe their life isn’t worth living.’
Flack’s management criticised the CPS in a statement earlier today. Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: ‘We are devastated at the loss of our client and friend Caroline Flack.
‘The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.
‘The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline. Our thoughts are with Caroline’s family at this time.
‘An immensely talented young woman who was at the top of her game professionally and loved by television viewers across the country. In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.’
The CPS told MailOnline in a statement: ‘Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Caroline Flack. Given the tragic circumstances, we will not comment on the specifics of this case at this stage.’