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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Attempt to raise rape convictions
Distressed woman
The new lawyers will help police over rape cases
Specialist lawyers are to be hired by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to try and raise the number of rape convictions in London.

Three lawyers will be brought in to oversee London rape cases - the first of their kind in England and Wales.

They will devote much of their time to presenting cases in court, but will also provide advice to police before charges are brought in rape cases.

The lawyers will start their new role in the autumn.

Across England and Wales, only 6% of reported rapes result in convictions.

We need to have a better understanding about best practice in the prosecution process
London Chief Crown Prosecutor Dru Sharpling

London Chief Crown Prosecutor Dru Sharpling said: "The CPS in London wants to play its part in bringing more offenders to justice in rape cases.

"The low conviction rate is something that we must look at very carefully.

"We need to have a better understanding about best practice in the prosecution process so that we support the victims of crime effectively and build up in-house expertise by prosecuting rape trials in the Crown Court with our own specialist advocates."

The lawyers will need to show five years' experience of dealing with sex offences cases and at least five years in presenting jury trial cases.

The CPS has 500 specialist rape prosecutors across England and Wales but this is the first time it has advertised for lawyers with specialised skills outside of the service.



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