CPS draws up tough assault guidelines

NEW guidelines on assault charges are set to make it easier to convict threatening telephone callers of actual or grievous bodily harm.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidelines to police and prosecutors contains a checklist of injuries and other factors for each crime of assault, designed to increase consistency across Britain.

But prosecutors will have to prove that any threats caused psychiatric injury to the victim to win a conviction. Actual bodily harm could include psychiatric injury, but not simple panic, distress or fear. Grievous bodily harm would include only “lengthy” psychiatric harm needing treatment.

Director of Public Prosecutions Barbara Mills says: “The guidance sets out for the first time the criteria that should be applied by police and prosecutors to help them reach the right decision, based on the seriousness of the offence and the injuries sustained.

“It promises greater consistency in dealing with assault cases and reduced burdens for the police, the CPS, courts and the defences.”