Legal prosecution manager, Crown Prosecution Service, London
When I was younger I was interested in ethics and justice. I originally wanted to study philosophy at university but I was persuaded to study law instead as not only was it more practical it also had better employment prospects at the end of it.
My legal training was excellent preparation for my career. As a trainee at the CPS I spent time in the homicide team, Crown court trial preparation team and on the magistrates’ court unit. During my training contract I also spent time on secondment at the Ministry of Justice where I helped to draft a new criminal offence, which was an exciting experience. While on the magistrates’ court unit I qualified through the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) as an associate prosecutor so I could start prosecuting cases on my feet in court before I qualified, which was excellent preparation for my time in court.
While on the magistrates’ advocacy team I took part in the London ‘trial blitz’. This aimed to reduce the length of time between first hearing and trial by the court listing a large volume of trials a day for a six-week period. During this period I prepared and prosecuted in court up to eight trials a day. I was fairly new to the advocacy team at the time and I was able to learn a lot from the experience in terms of how to work proportionately and how to focus on the issues which really matter to a case.
I spent time as a reviewing lawyer on the domestic violence unit. On the unit I dealt with a lot of difficult prosecutions with very vulnerable victims who sometimes did not wish to give evidence, either because they are in fear of the defendant or because they do not wish for the defendant to be prosecuted.
My role was to help to support victims to give their best evidence and in cases where victims withdraw their support for the prosecution to see if we can proceed ‘victimless’ without their evidence. This meant relying on other evidence such as 999 calls and body-worn video. This work was very rewarding because as a prosecutor on the domestic violence unit you play an important role in helping to protect very vulnerable victims.
Since I joined the CPS our prosecutions have become digital. We no longer have paper files and, instead, all of our files for court now appear on the Prosecutor App. We also use the technology in court to present our evidence digitally and we are making more use of live links so that witnesses can give evidence remotely. This has meant that we can be more resilient, work more efficiently as well assisting witnesses to give their best evidence.
Prospective prosecutors have until Thursday 23 February to apply to join the CPS’s legal trainee scheme.