Private prosecutions continue to attract much interest as evidenced by the issue of such proceedings by Westminster Magistrates’ Court against Member of Parliament, Boris Johnson, in respect of allegations of misconduct in a public office.
John Veale of Kangs Solicitors comments.
The Circumstances | Kangs Private Prosecutions Team
- The attempted prosecution arose from comments made by Boris Johnson during his Brexit campaign.
- Following the issue of the proceedings, Boris Johnson sought a Judicial Review.
- The High Court held that the alleged untruthful allegations did not amount to a criminal offence, and the attempted prosecution was politically motivated.
- The High Court quashed the summons.
- One of the interesting features of the attempted private prosecution is that it was paid for by ‘crowd funding’.
The Usual Prosecution Authorities | Kangs Private Prosecutions Advisory Team
In England and Wales, most prosecutions are instigated by the Crown Prosecution Service followed by:
- The Environment Agency
- The Serious Fraud Office
- Local Authorities
- Specialised authorities such as the Civil Aviation Authority.
Additionally, there are organisations such as the RSPCA which pursue private prosecutions in extreme cases.
The Future | Kangs National Private Prosecution Solicitors
Although private citizens have a constitutional right to prosecute alleged crimes before the Courts, there are safeguards within the system designed to prevent vexatious prosecutions which include:
- proper scrutiny before a summons is issued.
- abuse of process remedies such as a judicial review.
- the power of the Crown Prosecution Service to adopt a private prosecution.
- the fear of an adverse costs orders against the prosecutor where the proceedings cannot be justified.
A proposed code for the pursuit of private prosecutors is in the course of being drafted within the legal profession.
How Can We Assist? | Kangs National Criminal Law Solicitors.
The team at Kangs Solicitors is well versed in all aspects of the pursuit of a private prosecution.
Should you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact: