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55 Crim. L.Q. 449 (2009-2010)
Prosecutions, Politics and the Public Interest: Some Recent Developments in the United Kingdom, Canada and Elsewhere

handle is hein.journals/clwqrty55 and id is 455 raw text is: Prosecutions, Politics and the Public Interest:
Some Recent Developments in the
United Kingdom, Canada and Elsewhere
Philip C. Stenning
By the very nature of their decision-making process, in simultaneously
having to weigh in the balance conflicting considerations derivedfromn
law, the public interest and the realm of politics, the offices o?'Attorney
General and Director of Public Prosecutions attract a degree of public
attention that is inescapable.'
The truth of these opening words of the late Professor John
Edwards' second definitive book on the office of Attorney
General,2 published almost 25 years ago, has been more than
amply demonstrated in several Commonwealth and other
countries in very recent times. In the United Kingdom, the role
and independence of the Attorney General with respect to his/
her prosecutorial responsibilities has been called into question
in Parliament, the courts and the media in the BAE case
(discussed further below) and the so-called Cash for
Honours case.3 As a result, in one of his first statements to
*   Professor in Criminology, Keele University, U.K., p.c.stenning@crim.kee-
I. J.LI.J. Edwards, The Attorney General, Politics and the Public Interest
(London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1984), p. 1.
2. The first was his The Law Officers of the Crown (London: Sweet & Maxwell,
1964), generally regarded in the common law world as the locus classicus on
this topic.
3. The Cash for Honours case involved an investigation, by the London
Metropolitan Police, into allegations that various honours (peerages,
membership of the House of Lords, etc.) had been illegally (corruptly)
offered to potential financial donors to political parties in return for their
donations. All the major political parties were subjects of this investigation,
and during the course of it the police questioned senior members of the
government, including the Prime Minister himself, as well as senior staff
members in the Prime Minister's office. The Attorney General, a government
minister and a close friend of the Prime Minister, was urged to stand aside
from any involvement in decision-making with respect to this investigation,
but refused to agree to do so, insisting that this would constitute an

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