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Private prosecution - not in a civil court

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Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby atticus » Tue May 16, 2017 8:21 pm

It is reported that a prosecution for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984 will not proceed, as certain evidence is being withheld on national security grounds. A former police officer is reported as saying:
Iam considering now taking out a private prosecution against him. I will be looking to raise money and to get a very good lawyer to do it possibly on a pro bono basis.

“This would be a high profile private prosecution. The burden of proof in the civil court is lower and if we do go ahead, the Met Police are legally obliged to hand over the evidence they have got.

But a private prosecution is not a civil case.

I do not know whether the bit about the Met being obliged to hand over evidence is correct: surely one of those ministerial certificates withholding evidence on national security grounds would still apply. (I've just remembered the name - Public Interest Immunity certificate.)
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby Spankymonkey » Wed May 17, 2017 7:20 am

Bring a private prosecution against whom exactly? A Libyan exile? What is the source of this story?

It sounds like nothing more than a kite flying exercise and an empty threat. It also displays the relatively low level of intellect among police officers - who you would expect to understand the very basics of their craft - who are unable to understand the difference between 'prosecution' and 'proceedings'.

Besides which, where there would be a time limit bar on one, there would be no jurisdiction on the other.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby atticus » Wed May 17, 2017 7:23 am

I took the quoted text from something in the Torygraph.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby Spankymonkey » Wed May 17, 2017 8:44 am

Ah, that explains it. Having read the article now it seems that it is the reporter who cannot grasp the difference between a criminal and a county court. Considering 3 different reporters are credited for that one article, the intellect of journalists must be significantly less than that of even police officers. The blind leading the blind.

I also had no idea the suspected murderer was living in Britain, having claimed asylum a number of years back. That must have been awkward for the Met, as they would have to drastically switch reasons for not prosecuting him, which they have clearly done.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby atticus » Wed May 17, 2017 9:21 am

Conclusions are for leaping to.

The report was quoting the bloke. Quotation marks were used. I removed them as they seemed superfluous within a quotation as used in this forum. You will have observed the use of the first person.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby shootist » Wed May 17, 2017 9:25 am

It is a common error on the part of police officers to think of court actions in terms of prosecutions as that is mostly what they do. Most will know that civil actions are a different beast but misuse the words as much out of habit as anything. There are, of course, some right thick buggers also who neither know nor care about law and just proceed on the basis that they must be right because they are the police, but that's another matter entirely.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby Spankymonkey » Wed May 17, 2017 11:17 am

atticus wrote:Conclusions are for leaping to.

The report was quoting the bloke. Quotation marks were used. I removed them as they seemed superfluous within a quotation as used in this forum. You will have observed the use of the first person.


I would have observed the use of quotations more readily. And you criticising someone for jumping to conclusions is like the Hunchback of Notre Dame telling people to stand up straight.
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby atticus » Wed May 17, 2017 1:23 pm

Does anyone have a view on the assertion that if a private prosecution is brought the Met will have to hand over the evidence it has gathered?
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby dls » Wed May 17, 2017 2:16 pm

David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
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Re: Private prosecution - not in a civil court

Postby Spankymonkey » Wed May 17, 2017 2:43 pm

atticus wrote:Does anyone have a view on the assertion that if a private prosecution is brought the Met will have to hand over the evidence it has gathered?


The police are not obliged to hand over any material necessary to a private prosecution without a court order. For a court order to be made, the prosecutor would have to demonstrate that such evidence is essential to the prosecution, and is likely to exist. Off the back of the poorly written article you describe, I find it highly improbable that such evidence exists, let alone is being withheld on the grounds of national security.
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