Withdrawing a shoplifting charge is, unfortunately, not your decision to make. Criminal charges are brought by the state, in the name of the Queen. When a criminal case goes to the Crown Court, it will be listed as Regina (or R) versus The Defendant, for example R. v. Joe Bloggs. Only the Crown Prosecution Service has the power to drop criminal charges. Additionally, they have the power to call you as a witness even if you have made it clear you want the charge withdrawn.
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Visit your local police station and state that you want the shoplifting charge withdrawn. The police officer will want to know why, so make your reasons clear.
Ask the police to notify the CPS of your desire to have the charge dropped. If the police have already completed their investigations, the case will already have been referred to the CPS, who look at all the evidence and decide whether to charge a suspect, and what the charge should be.
Wait for the CPS to make their decision. They may discontinue the case because you do not want to proceed, or because the case does not pass the two tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The first test is the evidential test: is there enough evidence against the defendant to convict them of the crime in a court of law? The second test is the public interest test: is it in the public interest to go ahead with a prosecution? Every case is considered individually. However, the more serious the crime the more likely prosecution is to be in the public interest.
Tips and warnings
- If you are called as a witness and you ignore the witness summons, you may be arrested.
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