The Court of Appeal considered the use of reporting restrictions in a criminal trial in the context of an appeal by the BBC against a postponement order imposed pursuant to the Contempt of Court Act 1981 s.4(2).
There was nothing to prevent the making of an order for forfeiture of goods under the Trade Marks Act 1994 s.97(3) even where there had been no criminal conviction, as long as the court was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that a relevant offence had been committed.
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.
Having found that, due to ground settlement, it was not feasible for homeowners to restore their home to the condition it had been in before they built an extension without planning permission, a judge had been entitled to find that they had taken all possible steps to comply with an enforcement notice and had made out the defence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.179(3).
The magistrates’ court did not have jurisdiction to try a defendant in circumstances where he was first charged with an indictable offence more than six months after the alleged offence and the charge was later amended to a summary-only offence. To do so would be in breach of the time limit on the commencement of a prosecution for a summary offence laid down in the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.127.