Under proposed new guidance for prosecutors on the offence of perverting the course of justice, individuals who retract truthful allegations of rape or domestic violence out of fear are less likely to be prosecuted according to a statement made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, on the 10th February 2011. He added that individuals who make malicious false allegations should be aware that they risk prosecution.
Launching the 12-week public consultation, Mr Starmer said: "These are very difficult cases which need to be handled carefully and sensitively. Our interim guidance aims to protect individuals who retract a truthful allegation as a result of pressure or fear of violence, while taking a firm approach to those who make a malicious allegation against an innocent person. We welcome views on the interim guidance from anyone with an interest in this complex area."
The consultation comes as part of a series of improvements, announced by Mr Starmer in December, to instil greater quality and consistency in the way the Crown Prosecution Service handles rape cases. The interim guidance details both evidential and public interest considerations for prosecutors.