Decision to prosecute

Once the preliminary investigations have been completed, it is time for the prosecutor to decide whether or not to prosecute.

If the prosecutor, on objective grounds, judges that there is sufficient evidence to establish that the suspect has committed an offence, he/she is obliged to prosecute. A number of considerations must be taken into account before this decision is made.

If a prosecution is initiated, it is the task of the prosecutor to prove to the court that a crime has been committed.

No prosecution

If there is insufficient evidence to prove that an offence has been committed, the suspect cannot be prosecuted. It could, for example, be because the suspect denies committing the offence or that there are no witnesses or forensic evidence linking the suspect to the crime. Sometimes it becomes apparent during the course of the preliminary investigation that it is not possible to prove that a crime has been committed. Under these circumstances the prosecutor decides to discontinue the preliminary investigation.

A decision like this has the same significance as a decision to drop the charges against a suspect. 

In the case of both decisions it means that the preliminary investigations can be resumed if new information is received concerning the crime.

The victim of the crime, the injured party, is always informed of the decision reached by the prosecutor.