Read the following facts and answer the question that follows:
Agnes is 32 years old and recently divorced her husband. She has been arrested on suspicion of theft. She was stopped as she left Harridge’s department store with her four-year-old daughter: her shopping bag contained a handbag priced at £250 for which she had not paid. The store detective, Brian, says that he saw Agnes examine the handbag and then look at her mobile phone before finding her daughter and walking out of the department store. He followed Agnes to the store exit. He says that she walked purposefully and seemed well aware of what she was doing.
CCTV footage shows Agnes at several points while she was leaving the store. She could be seen looking at her phone several times.
Agnes admits that the handbag was inside her shopping bag and she had not paid for it. However, she denies committing theft, claiming that her daughter must have put the handbag into her shopping bag while she was distracted. She was taking strong medication for anxiety at the time, which may have affected her ability to concentrate.
Agnes has no previous convictions, although she does have one caution for a public order offence which relates to an argument she had in the street with her ex-husband. She works in the accounts office of a local company, and studies for a degree part-time. She would lose her job if she was convicted for an offence of dishonesty such as theft.
Agnes was diagnosed with anxiety and depression following her divorce. She has been receiving counselling and treatment. Her doctor says that she is responding well to treatment, and her symptoms have improved significantly since the incident. She is adjusting to the medication, and her levels of concentration are now close to normal. However, he is concerned that the stress of a prosecution and its effect on her job could cause her condition to worsen significantly.
Theft attracts a maximum sentence of seven years, although the maximum guideline sentence for shoplifting is three years.
Using the Code for Crown Prosecutors, explain whether Agnes should be prosecuted for theft.
Find and read the following article:
• Johnston, E. (2017) ‘The Early Guilty Plea Scheme and the Rising Wave of Managerialism’, Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, vol. 181, p. 210-212.
Summarize Johnston’s argument that the early guilty plea scheme may lead to injustice.
Whether Agnes, a 32-year-old recently divorced mother who has been receiving counselling and treatment for anxiety and depression should be prosecuted for theft of a £250 handbag from a Harridge’s department store. Based on the facts provided, does the case pass the evidential stage of the Code for Crown Prosecutors? Does the case pass the public interest stage of the Code for Crown Prosecutors?
The prosecutor must review the facts and decide whether there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of success. Should the evidential threshold test be met, the prosecutor must make a decision about whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. Consequently, whether Agnes should be prosecuted for theft in this case depends on whether the facts provided pass the evidential stage and the public interest stage of the Code for Crown Prosecutors (The Open University, 2018).
Agnes was arrested on suspicion of theft, and the witness is a Harridge’s department store’s detective who alleges that he saw Agnes pick and examine the bag before walking out of the store without paying for it. According to the witness, Agnes seemed well aware of what she was doing. There is...
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