A judge had applied the wrong test when staying as an abuse of process, on the basis of entrapment by a private citizen, criminal proceedings brought against an individual charged with attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming online. The judge had erred by not distinguishing between the conduct of a private citizen and that of state agents when making a finding of entrapment.
ABUSE OF PROCESS
The court quashed a district judge’s decision to issue summonses for offences of fraud which had been issued on the application of a private prosecutor. The prosecutor had failed to comply with his duty of candour by not disclosing material which would have enabled the court to consider whether the application was vexatious, an abuse of process or otherwise improper, to consider whether to make further enquiries and to require the party that he sought to prosecute to be notified of the application and to hear that party.
A prosecutor’s decision not to charge a man with the rape of a woman with learning difficulties was not irrational. The circumstances of the man’s acquittal some years earlier on charges of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice were such that the prosecutor had been right to conclude that the man would be able to establish that a second prosecution was an abuse of process.
The power of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to order a venire de novo did not include a power to declare a summary trial a nullity, or quash a conviction recorded in such proceedings and remit the matter for retrial. Venire de novo was concerned only with trial on indictment, and with fundamental irregularities rendering such a trial a nullity.
A judge had erred in holding that disciplinary proceedings brought against a police officer were barred on the basis of res judicata. A decision by the Police Appeals Tribunal, allowing the officer’s appeal against his dismissal for gross misconduct without remitting the matter, had not been a final decision on the merits for the purposes of cause of action estoppel.