Private Prosecutions: The foundations are laid – Six Pump Court

Posted February 14th, 2014 in abuse of process, compensation, confiscation, fraud, news, police, private prosecutions by sally

‘The headline in The Guardian on Wednesday 29th January 2014 (“Metropolitan Police accused of acting on behalf of big business”) would undoubtedly have caused a stir amongst private prosecutors, public prosecutors, the police, the Home Office and others interested in the issue of commercial organisations seeking redress in the criminal courts in relation to crimes committed against them. The story, based upon observations made by the Lord Chief Justice in a recent Court of Appeal case, queried the efficacy of private prosecutions brought in such circumstances and – quoting labour MP Tom Watson and Jenny Jones, a London assembly member for the Green party – suggested that they represented the “…creeping privatisation of policing…”. The former spoke of “…two tier-policing where corporate interests can buy the time of the police…” whilst the latter complained, “I hate the thought that if you are rich you can buy more justice than if you are poor…”. And yet at a time when funding for public bodies – and in particular prosecuting authorities – is under such severe strain, it is inevitable that there will be a growing demand for the private sector to operate in areas that were once solely or mainly inhabited by the state. Private prosecutions are here to stay – that much is clear from the case concerned. But are the criticisms levelled against them fair? And what is the real impact of the case on private prosecutions, confiscation and compensation and the very real problem of fraud on commerce? ‘

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Six Pump Court, 5th February 2014