Assault on Justice
A man given a beating in his own home. A young woman bitten and punched by a man. A bottle smashed onto the head of an innocent bystander in an argument. Three victims, all violently assaulted - yet their attackers escaped prosecution, receiving cautions instead.
Half of all criminal cases brought to justice in England and Wales are now dealt with out of court. It's fast justice...but is it fair?
The government says out-of-court punishments, like cautions and fines, are helping to unclog the overburdened courts system and deal swiftly with antisocial behaviour. Critics say it is simply justice on the cheap, letting some serious criminals off the hook and, crucially, denying victims their day in court.
Shelley Jofre investigates whether these decisions, made behind closed doors instead of in open court, are tough on crime or the causes of crime.