§ Lord Denning
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether it is the duty of the Crown as parens patriae to see that justice is done in criminal cases; whether they consider that justice should involve the interests not only of the accused but also of the victim and his relatives; and whether they will direct the Crown Prosecution Service to correct the conduct outlined in Lord Denning's question answered on 27th July (H.L. Deb. col. 1671); and how redress can be secured for the victim.
§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)
It is the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government to ensure proper arrangements for the due administration of justice in criminal matters. But the principle of separation of functions requires that certain duties are discharged by individuals or organisations independent of the Executive. Decisions whether to prosecute, together with the 1359WA subsequent conduct of cases, are (save in so far as a case is conducted by a member of the independent Bar) the responsibility of the independent prosecuting authorities. The judiciary in the discharge of their duties are of course wholly independent of Her Majesty's Government. The interest and attitude of a victim of a particular crime are relevant to, although not conclusive of, the decision whether to prosecute in a particular case, but the adversarial system confers on such persons no right to participate in that capacity in the proceedings themselves. In so far as the conduct of the prosecution service mentioned in the question is taken to refer to a particular case in which the noble Lord has shown interest, the tendering by the prosecution of the particular witness for cross-examination was in compliance with a requirement made by the trial judge. The nature and scope of the cross-examination so permitted was also a matter for the trial judge acting in a judicial capacity. In the particular case, the defendant was acquitted and the proceedings may not be re-opened.