In a dramatic intervention, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today informed lawyers representing Aisling Hubert that it will take over and drop the private prosecutions brought by Miss Hubert against doctors who were prepared to offer abortions on gender grounds.
A letter received this morning states that "on the current evidence before the court, there is insufficient evidence to form a realistic prospect of conviction" and "the public interest considerations in not pursuing a prosecution outweigh those in favour, as concluded and set out in 2013".
The CPS also cites the fact that Miss Hubert did not have the complete footage of undercover filming of the two doctors.
However, lawyers acting for her have made repeated requests for that footage to be released to them by the CPS (which is in possession of it).
Initially the CPS indicated that the footage would be released to Miss Hubert but later changed its position.
In February 2012, undercover reporters from the Telegraph filmed the doctors offering abortion on the basis of the baby's gender. One doctor was filmed saying "I don't ask questions, you want a termination, you want a termination," the other said "it's like female infanticide isn't it?"
A police investigation followed into the doctors and the CPS considered prosecution.
However, whilst the CPS said that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of prosecution, it concluded that it would 'not be in the public interest' to bring such a prosecution.
The controversial decision provoked concern from across the political spectrum..
Following the original CPS decision, Miss Hubert, a pro-life campaigner and committed Christian, stepped in to pursue a private prosecution against the doctors. Summons were granted against both doctors but the progression of the cases has now been halted by the CPS.
The CPS have considered the evidence which Miss Hubert relied on and have concluded that there is little prospect of successful prosecutions and therefore the cases should be dropped.
Miss Hubert is shocked and disappointed and will be seeking legal advice as to whether and how the decision can be challenged.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which backs the case, commented
“Aisling has been trying to bring to account two doctors who were prepared to break the law and allow the abortion of two baby girls. However, her attempt to do so has been persistently and vociferously undermined by the CPS. At all stages of this case there have been major challenges, but Aisling has been determined to carry on and speak on behalf of the unborn child.
"This latest decision is a huge disappointment and demonstrates the strength of opposition to bringing to account doctors who were willing to break the law. We will continue to support Aisling as she seeks ways to challenge this remarkable decision made by the CPS”