Success Stories

Prosecution for 9 offences dropped following abuse of process argument

By Milly Blunt  |  08.09.2021

The Insolvency Service charged our client with nine offences relating to his alleged misconduct as a company director, including four offences of high value fraud.

Our client was charged with these offences in October 2020, despite the fact that the alleged offences dated as far back as 2016, and he was near the end of serving a six-year prison sentence for similar offences of fraud.

We submitted a detailed written abuse of process argument to the Insolvency Service, relying on the case of R v Beedie [1997]. In this case, the Court held that prosecutions should be prohibited where they are based on substantially the same facts that had resulted in a prior conviction, in the absence of special circumstances justifying such a course of action. We also relied on the recent case of R v Wangige [2020], in which the Court held that this statement could be modified further to ‘what reasonably could have been known by the prosecutor at the time that the original proceedings were concluded’. The case specifically referred to whether any fresh evidence in respect of current proceedings could have reasonably been available at the first trial.

We submitted that there was a clear overlap between the investigation of the new offences and the previous proceedings, and highlighted the fact that the previous proceedings involved a lengthy and detailed investigation into the defendant’s business and financial activity in the same period as the new offences. We also submitted that the defendant’s business documents and bank statements were heavily analysed in the original trial and subsequent confiscation proceedings, and that all new offences could have, and should have been considered by the prosecuting authorities at the time of the original prosecution. We submitted that it would also be unjust to continue with the prosecution on the basis that there was a significant delay in charging our client with the offences, especially given that at the time of our argument, he had finished serving his sentence and had been released on licence.

Our client was extremely pleased with the written argument and stated in a letter to the firm:

“‘With regards to my ongoing POCA confiscation order, she [Milly] has worked tirelessly to ensure I am always kept in the loop with any updates, and in a similar vein with progress reports on the current charges I face. Her research into possible flaws in the prosecution argument in my ongoing case has even drawn praise from my barrister, Nick Cockrell. In summary, and whatever the outcome of my upcoming legal argument and POCA hearings, Milly Blunt is an outstanding individual who represents your firm with distinction, and it is only right that she is recognised for her work’.

His letter also confirmed:

“As a receipt of Legal Aid, I have never felt undervalued by SMW”.

In light of the abuse of process argument, the Insolvency Service offered no evidence in respect of all nine offences. Our client was overjoyed.

This case was prepared by Head of Litigation Amy Cox and Milly Blunt, and Nick Cockrell of 7 Harrington Street Chambers was instructed Counsel.

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