How about if I just carry the ball to the net?

Another chickenshit club:

Rape prosecutors in England and Wales were given a conviction rate target which was never made public.

BBC Newsnight has had access to a Law Society Gazette investigation, which found that from 2016 prosecutors were judged against a 60% target of cases ending in conviction.

So what do you do if you want to hit the target? You don’t prosecute the tough cases. This is what James Comey reminded the SDNY prosecutors when he was their boss: if they made it their goal to have zero losses, then they were in the chickenshit club, because they would prosecute only the sure things.

Rape convictions in England and Wales are at their lowest level since 2008, despite record levels of allegations.

According to guidance set down in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, decisions should be based on two things: whether it’s in the public interest, and if the case has more than a 50% chance of a conviction.

But from 2016, rape prosecutors were also asked to consider a conviction rate target called a “level of ambition” of 60%.

One way to achieve improved conviction rates is by prosecuting only the strongest cases.

And those women who have the bad judgment to be raped in a difficult to prosecute way, well, they should just go away and do better next time.

The 60% rape conviction rate target was never made public by the CPS, but was discovered by the Law Society Gazette after a trawl through CPS inspection reports.

In one such report, inspectors criticised the Cheshire-Merseyside regional CPS for missing the target in 2017. Their conviction rate was 57.3%, down from 65.4% the previous year, but their actual number of rape convictions had gone up from 100 to 138 in the same period.

The following year, the same team introduced a “more stringent triage process for police files” on rape.

Their number of convictions dropped to 81 – the lowest for years – but by prosecuting fewer cases they actually exceeded the CPS target. Their conviction rate was 68%.

So it’s not the victims who count, it’s the stats of the prosecutors. Cool.

A coalition of women’s organisations, represented by the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ), has launched a legal case against the service for what it says is an unlawful change in approach by the CPS.

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, founder of the CWJ, told Newsnight: “What a change in the conviction rate would suggest is if they’re being targeted to improve their convictions, the easiest way to do that is to take weaker cases out of the system.

“If those that rape are not being held to account, they will feel they can continue doing so with impunity.”

And they’ll be right.

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