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Private Criminal Prosecutions. An Alternative To Civil Proceedings?
The right to bring a private prosecution is one which is being exercised on an ever increasing basis, especially where economic crime is involved.
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What Is A Private Prosecution?
A private prosecution is one which is not brought by the police or other prosecuting authority but by a private individual or entity.
The pursuit of a private prosecution allows an aggrieved party to seek redress through a criminal court, frequently alongside the more traditional approach of a civil court action.
In the event that the proceedings result in a conviction, the convicted person faces the same criminal court sanctions as would have been the case if the state had been the Prosecutor.
When May A Private Prosecution Be Considered Appropriate?
- In the event that a public body, such as the Crown Prosecution Service, for example, decides not to prosecute a person for an alleged wrong-doing, the victim of the alleged crime may bring a private prosecution under section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 with the intent of seeing that justice is served.
- Where an individual or corporate body has suffered financially from dishonesty a private prosecution may provide a speedier course of redress than the pursuit of proceedings through a civil court.
- The alleged offence complained of must not be one for which the consent of the Attorney General or Director of Public Prosecutions is required.
What Are The Advantages Of A Private Criminal Prosecution?
- A prosecution may be commenced in situations where a normal prosecuting agency is prevaricating and reluctant to proceed.
- In the current climate of costs budgeting in the civil courts, it is very much the case that far too much time can be lost over costs issues to the extent that they frequently become the focus of the proceedings.
- A successful private prosecution may well lead to a substantial payment of costs being recovered from central funds.
- Once all preliminary preparatory work has been satisfactorily conducted and a summons issued, the subsequent procedure is comparatively straightforward.
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Potential Areas For Caution
- Anyone faced with having to defend a private prosecution will be well advised to seek expert advice and guidance. Such an expert will be alert to identifying a vexatious or improper private prosecution and will seek to derail such proceedings.
- The proper and accurate compilation, preservation and presentation of the evidence is crucial in order to convince a judge that the procedure is being used appropriately.
- Whilst it is perfectly acceptable for a private prosecutor to hold a degree of personal interest, the test is objective, involving some public interest.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help With A Private Criminal Prosecution?
At Kangs Solicitors our team is experienced in both pursuing and defending Private Prosecutions, closely working alongside experienced counsel.
Should you wish to consider the issue of such proceedings or find yourself having to defend yourself upon receipt of such a summons, please contact our team through any of the following who will be delighted to assist.
2 Wake Green Road, Moseley
Birmingham, B13 9EZ
0121 449 9888
9 Carmelite Street, City of London
London, EC4Y 0DR
020 7936 6396
Pall Mall Court 61-67 King Street
Manchester, M2 4PD