‘These are real people and real people’s lives and real emotions’, one barrister says in the opening sequence of a new BBC4 documentary which features the work of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The Prosecutors: Real Crime and Punishment – which began its three-episode run on Wednesday (February 24) – affords viewers glimpses of humanity in its many guises and makes for a compelling watch.
The first instalment of the groundbreaking show – which is the first time the CPS has invited the cameras behind the scenes in its 30-year history – focuses on how the body tackles the unenviable task of deciding which charges to bring against individuals alleged to have committed a crime.
Showing both sides of the coin, the episode revealed the enormous work that goes into building a case, as well as the impact of criminal proceedings on victims and their families through the tragic case of 11-year-old Flynn Morrissey, who was killed on his way to school when a Porsche collided with his mum’s car on the Alderley Edge Bypass in 2013.
The driver of the Porsche is charged with causing death by careless driving, but claims he lost control of the vehicle as he went round a bend due to a sudden downpour.
Flynn’s remarkably strong mum Nicky Clifford is shown preparing to give evidence in the trial, in her pursuit for the truth about why her little boy died.
The trial then takes place at Chester Crown Court , prosecuted on behalf of the CPS by Gareth Roberts , a barrister from Chester-based Linenhall Chambers, who describes it as a ‘very challenging case’.
And when the jury delivers their verdict, Nicky’s reaction is both inspiring and humbling.
In an extraordinary act of forgiveness, she tells the driver that she does not want him to continue to feel guilty.
“He is a good man who has made a mistake and the consequences have been devastating, but they have been devastating for him as well,” Nicky says.
“I do not want this to ruin his life.”
The Prosecutors: Real Crime and Punishment continues on BBC4 at 9pm on Wednesday, March 4.