public prosecutor

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public prosecutor

Law an official in charge of prosecuting important cases
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Public Prosecutor


the person who, in the name of the state, presses charges in court in criminal proceedings, In the USSR procurators and their deputies and assistants act as prosecutors. Pressing public charges is one of the means by which the procurator supervises strict observance of the laws.

The public prosecutor participates in the examination of evidence in court sessions, offers his conclusions on questions arising during trials, and makes an oral statement before the court, presenting his view on the conclusiveness of evidence, the application of criminal law, the degree of penalty, and other questions. An analysis of the causes and conditions that contributed to the perpetration of the crime and proposals on how to eliminate them are an essential part of the pleading of the public prosecutor. If the public prosecutor arrives at the conviction that the facts of the judicial inquest do not support the accusation against the defendant, it is his duty to withdraw the charges, explaining to the court the motives for the withdrawal. In these instances, the court is obliged to continue the examination of the case and decide the question of guilt on general considerations, based on the examined evidence and the arguments of all participants in the trial.

In foreign socialist countries the public accusation in court is also presented by a procurator. In bourgeois countries various officials function as public prosecutors authorized to carry out criminal prosecution. In the USA charges are presented before the Supreme Court in cases of exceptional importance by the attorney general, and before other federal courts charges are presented by a district attorney. In Great Britain the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution was founded in 1879 to bring charges in cases concerning the interest of the crown (the state). Other officials, including the police, may act as prosecutors. In France, according to the Code of Procedure of 1958, procurators affiliated with every criminal court bring public charges. In Switzerland, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Mexico, and Venezuela procurators who are attached either to the courts or to the ministries of justice function as public prosecutors.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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