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.
ABUSE OF PROCESS
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.
New proceedings based on fresh evidence, which fundamentally changed the nature of the case, were not an abuse of process because they were not a collateral attack on the earlier proceedings. Accordingly, there had not been an opportunity, let alone a full opportunity, for the claimants to run their case.