CPS says you can be young enough to stand but too old to be prosecuted if you break election law

There’s no maximum age limit for standing in public elections, with instead it being left to the voters to decide if they think a candidate is (still) up to the job. However, the recent allegations of law-breaking against Conservative Police Commissioner candidate Michael Mates have resulted in an oddity from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The CPS has applied their usual logic of taking into account people’s ages when deciding whether or not to prosecute someone.  In effect, the CPS has, therefore, ended up saying that you can be young enough to stand but too old to be prosecuted if you then break the law when standing.

Here are the further details, courtesy of the Hampshire Chronicle:

POLICE commissioner candidate Michael Mates has avoided prosecution for electoral fraud, partly because he is too old.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was enough evidence to charge Mr Mates, who was defeated by Simon Hayes last November in the election for Hampshire commissioner…

In the statement, the CPS said: “Having considered the reasons why Michael Mates was at the address provided, we have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in this case.

“However, in view of the likely penalty that would be imposed, Michael Mates’ age, the fact that the election did not have to be re-run and that his culpability was relatively low, we do not consider that a prosecution would be in the public interest.”

Old enough to stand, too old to be prosecuted clearly raises problems – including, as Michael Mates has himself complained, meaning that if someone is not prosecuted due to being ‘too old’, then it also means they do not have a chance to clear their name.

UPDATE: He was subsequently cleared.

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