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Former chief prosecutor says UK system is 'not fit for purpose'

The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Kier Starmer, who left his post late last year, has spoken out against the UK justice system, which he says in its current state is 'not fit for purpose', reports the BBC.

Sir Kier Starmer was head of the UK Crown Prosecution Service from 2008 to 2013, and was widely regarded for his time in the post.

However, just a few months after leaving the post, and being knighted in the New Year's honours list, Sir Starmer used an interview with the BBC's Hard Talk programme to highlight the plight of vulnerable victims, and concluded that the UK justice system is 'not fit for purpose' because it fails the weakest in society.

Sir Kier said that a lack of faith in the justice system meant that victims of domestic and sexual abuse were less likely to report acts committed against them.

"The more vulnerable you are as a victim, the less able the criminal justice system is to protect you," he said.

Sir Kier also highlighted the strain that the justice system had been placed under by successive government cuts, saying that the proposed further 5.5% cuts due in 2015/16 could result in the service becoming unsustainable.

"There will come a point where really no further cuts can be sustained and I think we're very, very close to that point," he said.

He believes to further trim the budget would require a radical overhaul of the entire criminal justice system, with a reduction in the number of cases going to full trial.

As an example of an area where the system could be changed, he cited the convening of magistrates' courts even when an accused has pleaded guilty by post, and even when sentencing is not required.