Maples Succeed in Abuse of Process Application
In a Criminal Case involving an allegation of Driving Without Due Care and Attention, we made an application to the Magistrates to stay the prosecution as to allow the case to proceed could bring the administration of justice into disrepute and the Defendant may not have been able to have a fair trial.
The application was upheld by the Magistrates resulting in the case ending against our client who was naturally delighted with the result. It is exceptional for such an application to be successful as the basic principle is that it is for the Prosecution and not the Court to decide if a prosecution should be commenced and once commenced whether it should continue.
The application related as to whether a binding promise had been made as the Defendant had been told earlier in the case that there would be No Further Action taken against him. There was a review of the matter at a later date with the Prosecution indicating that there was further evidence which had not been available at the time. An issue was also raised by ourselves as to whether the Police had failed to investigate the matter in a proper fashion and material had not been recorded or retained when it was reasonable to expect that material should have been recorded and retained and that this may prevent a fair trial from taking place.
Commenting after the case Daven Naghen indicated:
“Its quite exceptional for the Court to intervene to prevent a case proceeding to trial, however this was an unusual case. It is important to remember that the Courts have an overriding duty to promote justice and to prevent injustice. It is pleasing to know that the Client has been spared the stress which comes with having to proceed to trial.
There is a great deal of case law to consider when making an Abuse of Process application and some cases point in favour of the Defence and others in favour of the Prosecution. Detailed written arguments were exchanged in advance of the hearing but were then built upon in oral submission before the Magistrates. It was important to appreciate that each case should be decided on its merits and that often cases can be distinguished from the current situation upon close analysis of the facts.”
Examples of where there may be an argument that there has been an Abuse of Process are where a fair trial is impossible, there has been a significant and unreasonable delay in bringing the proceedings, there has been adverse media publicity or where there has been bad faith or misconduct on behalf of the Police or Prosecution.
Should you have any enquiries about a Criminal or Motoring matter whether court proceedings have commenced or are imminent please do not hesitate to contact Daven Naghen or Anita Toal of our offices.