Appeal upheld and prosecution stopped
In a judgment given by Lady Justice Hallett, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of a judge at Blackfriars Crown Court to stop a prosecution brought by the London Borough of Islington against a client of Sonn Macmillan Walker.
This was a complicated case involving the prosecution by Islington Council of the owner of a building in the Clerkenwell Green Conservation Area in London. The council alleged that the owner did not comply with a planning enforcement notice whilst the owner claimed that the prosecution for breach of the enforcement notice was improperly brought. The crown court judge found that the council’s planning enforcement officer wrongly sought to interfere with the consideration of a remedial planning application made by the property owner and that the council’s motive in bringing and then continuing the prosecution proceedings was improper.
Accordingly, the judge in the crown court found that this conduct amounted to an abuse of process and put a stop to the proceedings. The council sought leave to appeal against the ruling.
The Court of Appeal found that the judge’s decision was correct and rejected all nine grounds on which the council sought to challenge the decision. The council will be liable for the defendant’s substantial legal costs.
The case was conducted by David Sonn who instructed Melissa Murphy of Francis Taylor Buildings.