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Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

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Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Tony Bennett on 19.08.13 14:25

This is a curious case.

Michael Doherty was convicted earlier this year of assault on a security guard by a Magistrates Court. He was fined £1,000.

Unusually, the full circumstances leading up to this alleged assault were filmed on CCTV (inside the Court prcincts) and there is an audio recording of part of it.

There is a prior history of Michael Doherty making a complaint against the police, and I don't know the background.

The images of the security guards confronting him within Stevenage Magistrates Court can be seen from 8 mins 20 secs on this UK Column (yes, I know) video, Part 1:

http://www.ukcolumn.org/forum/anything-goes/michael-docherty-found-guilty-assaultstitch

His appeal to the Crown Court is due to be heard tomorrow (20 August) at St. Albans Crown Court.

I have received a tip-off that the CPS were required to disclose additional evidence in their possession by 4pm Friday but have failed to do so.

It is possible therefore that the CPS case will collapse and MIchael Doherty's case would therefore succeed by default

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 20.08.13 7:47

Well done Michael Doherty and others.

The fat security guard certainly did not look as though he had just taken a thump, he closed the door and marched (belly first) straight back in, no sign of being in pain after taking a punch. Most people would touch their face and look to see if blood had been drawn I should think if a punch had been thrown at them.

Tthanks for posting Tony. The internet shows how justice does not always prevail.

Hope Mr. Doherty is successful in his appeal.
.

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.08.13 7:57

@plebgate wrote:Well done Michael Doherty and others.  

The fat security guard certainly did not look as though he had just taken a thump, he closed the door and marched (belly first) straight back in, no sign of being in pain after taking a punch.   Most people would touch their face and look to see if blood had been drawn I should think if a punch had been thrown at them.

Tthanks for posting Tony.     The internet shows how justice does not always prevail.

Hope Mr. Doherty is successful in his appeal.  .
Thank you for your comments plebgate - that's exactly what I thought when viewing this video for the first time. I hope to find out a whole lot more about this story today. Doherty is represented by well-known left-wing London firm Hodge, Jones and Allen (I have to note that the firm was founded by Henry Hodge, a rights lawyer back in the 1970s and 1980s, and he is related to Margaret Hodge somehow)

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 20.08.13 8:00

Great Tony, look forward to hearing more about it all.smilie 

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Guest on 20.08.13 8:58

Not heard of Michael Doherty before Tony, watching the video's I was realy shocked how he was treated. He does deserve a Badge of Honour for exposing them for what they are, have to admire him for keeping so calm throughout it all

I do hope he wins his appeal.

You may have read these Tony but for anyone who hasn't I copied these links from the video page                        l

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/12/police-truth-blair-peach-tomlinson

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9477981/Police-officers-in-court-as-man-brings-private-prosecution.html

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.08.13 21:02

FIRST DAY - brief summary

Court began 12.15 after a delay for another case.

Doherty had some 25-30 supporters; there were only 15 seats, though, rules are rules, so only 15 could be admitted. Many were members of informal networks and a Facebook group that tackled corruption and unfairness in the legal system and police (JU5TLAW on Twitter).

Case is being heard in the Crown Court by Mr Justice Warner and two Magistrates, one male, one female.

There were some early legal submissions. Doherty's barrister had got a Section 8 order from Judge Bright last week for an explanation as to whether a CCTV of the original incident in the custody suite in the police unit at Cambridge Magistrates Court was still available. They had given, via a custody officer, Matthew Sharp, a convoluted and evasive answer. The prosecution have got to go back and get a full and honest answer as to whether it still exists and, if not, why not.

At 12.27 the lady Magistrate leaned over to the judge and whispered something. The judge then said: "Mr Doherty, will you please stop chewing gum in court". He obeyed.

The prosecution summarised the case thus:

This was a single allegation of assault.

Doherty had been found guilty at Stevenage Magistrates Court. He was now appealing to the Crown Court.

On 7 Aug 2012 at Cambridge Magistrates Court Doherty arrived at about 10am.

He was dressed in a suit, had a briefcase with him, and was 'peaceable'.

He said he wanted to lay a private prosection (apply for a summons).

He spoke to Diane Armstrong, a court usher, who said he couldn't do it there, he had to make an appointment at Peterborough Court.

Doherty has laid private prosecutions before. He said he didn't need to go to Peterborough. He could do it here.

Mrs Armstrong insisted he couldn't do it 'because they've taken away all the admin staff from Cambridge'.

He insisted. She had said: 'He stuck out his chest, raised his voice, and tempers got frayed'.

She called a Senior Court Clerk, who repeated that he could not lay his information at that Court.

Doherty continued to insist that he could.

The Senior Court Clerk said he was 'very argumentative, belligerent, and determined not to listen'.

She said she was upset and disturbed.

Security was notfied. Doherty was told to leave. He carried on arguing. The security officer said he had powers under Section 53 of the Courts Act to remove him.

The security guard, Nigel Carden, and another, picked Doherty up, shoved him in the lift and ejected him from the Court building.

Doherty came back '2 or 3 times'.

On the 2nd or 3rd occasion he tried to get in but was blocked by Carden, who 'stood in front of the Defendant'.

The Defendant raised either a hand or a fist. The hand or fist of Doherty then 'extended forwards'. Carden thought he was in danger and moved backwards. He was not struck. This, if proven, said the prosecution, meets the legal definition of 'assault'.

The prosecution then told the judge what the Defendant's case was. He summarised it thus:

"Doherty said he reacted in self-defence. He says that he was the one assaulted. He says that the security officer had no right to touch him. He says that the Section 53 power to eject him had been misused under the circumstances".

Section 53 (2) provides that:

"A court official may exclude or remove any person if it is reasonably necessary to do so:-
(a) to enable court business to be carried on, or
(b) to maintain order.

The prosecution maintain that the defendant's action was 'an interference' with the court's business.

He was arguing his point 'heatedly' though not violently. He was being disruptive.

The prosecution has a total of 10 witnesses. The case might last 3 days

Three witnesses were then heard:

DIANE ARMSTRONG - Court Usher
DIANE PINTER - Senior Court Clerk
NIGEL CARDER - Chief Security Officer

I'll post more later

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Comment I am struggling at present to understand why this is classed as an 'assault' and why, amidst all the other incidents there are between two people, it was necessary to prosecute Doherty, and why a total of 10 witnesses was necessary and why this incident needed a three day trial

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 20.08.13 21:15

Thanks Tony.
I really do hope he wins this appeal as in the video when Mr. Doherty is speaking at the beginning of the tape to a woman, it looks as though she is the person who is very animated and not Mr. Doherty who looked very calm.

So the private security guard was not punched at all. As you say tony, how is Mr. Doherty found guilty of assault.?





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The evidence of the Court usher, Diane A Armstrong

Post by Tony Bennett on 21.08.13 9:37

Diane A Armstrong – 1st witness

I am a court usher, soon to retire

I worked on Level 2 of the Court, on the 2nd floor

No, correction, it was the 3rd Floor, but we call it Level 2

I’m an usher for the Family Proceedings Court

My job is to deal with those attending family proceedings and care proceedings, families, solicitors, barristers and so on. Some of the families are about to lose their children in care proceedings. They can be very emotional

When I first saw Doherty, he looked official

I was just coming out of the Court room to see if anyone else had turned up

He was wearing a pin-striped suit. He had a briefcase. I thought he was a solicitor or barrister

I went up to him and said ‘Can I help you?’

He said: ‘I want to lay a private prosecution’

I asked if he had made an appointment

He said: ‘No, I don’t need one’

I said: ‘You can’t lay informations here, this is no longer a Magistrates Court, it’s only a ‘Hearing Centre’ where hearings are held, there are no administrative staff here, you have to go to the Peterborough Court [NOTE: about 45 miles away] to lay an information and you need to make an appointment first'

He said: ‘I don’t need to do that, I can do this here’

I repeated that he must ‘phone Peterborough. They will give you an appointment

He argued with me again

So I found a Court Clerk and told her what Doherty had said. She told me: “That’s not the way it works”. The Court Clerk didn’t come out to speak to Doherty

So I went out and told him again that he must ring Peterborough to make an appointment

He said I can’t do that and don’t need to do it

He said: ‘Can I speak to the Court Manager?’

I said: ‘The Court Manager isn’t here today’

He said: ‘Well, can I speak to whoever is in charge?’

So I went to get Diane Pinter, the Senior Court Clerk

She was in an office. I spoke to her in her main office which was also on Level 2

I told her that Doherty wanted to bring a private prosecution and that he was saying that he must see a Court Manager

I was concerned about his physical stance

He became very agitated

His attitude was: ‘Look, I know what I can do’

He was assertive

Like all men, I’m sorry to say this, but it’s true, all men do it,  he stuck his chest out, puffed it out when he spoke to me

He was very polite all the way through

There was no anger

There was no swearing

I was as calm as I could be under the circumstances

Cross-examined by Mr Dent, barrister, for the Defendant

The incident happened on 7 August 2012

I wasn’t questioned about it until 20 November 2012 [NOTE: 3 ½ months later]

A police officer suddenly came to the court one day and asked me to make a statement

I would agree that after that length of time my memory about the incident would have been impaired

It was a very busy day, I was under pressure

I am frequently called on to assist people with all sorts of queries

I’ve never been asked about a private prosecution before

I agree that I don’t actually know what the procedure is for laying an information

I know that people can’t go straight into a court and lay an information

At this point Dent asked Armstrong: “Would it surprise you to know that in fact one can just go into a court and lay an information with a court official?”


Armstrong:  ‘Well, yes it would, actually’

I am surprised to learn that you can do that

I don’t know if it’s possible or not

All the interaction took place just on Level 2

He was polite, assertive and very professional

Was he aggressive? No

I can now understand the situation. Doherty knew about the procedure, and I didn’t

END OF ARMSTRONG’S EVIDENCE

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 21.08.13 10:14

No wonder the country is in the state it is in. All of this could have been avoided if somebody who knew the court system had BOTHERED to come out and talk to Mr. Doherty in a calm and measured way.

3 months after the incident she was asked to provide a statement but presumably there was no mention of possible memory impairment about the incident. Things stated as fact and to cap it all, all men puff out their chests when they speak. Well you couldn't make this load of old carp up - COULD YOU????

Why weren't the original magistrates aware of court procedure over the filing of a private prosecution. Why didn't the Senior Court Clerk make the magistrate aware of it before the original hearing?

Before the internet and mobile phones this would not have been given the time of day at an appeal hearing IMO. Thank you once again Mr. Berners-Lee and all those brave enough to tackle injustice.

Good luck Mr. Doherty and thanks again Tony. Tony B a real thorn in the side of many an official. Great stuff. clapping 


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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Tony Bennett on 21.08.13 11:13

plebgate wrote:

"All of this could have been avoided if somebody who knew the court system had BOTHERED to come out and talk to Mr. Doherty in a calm and measured way".


Nail on head

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REPORT ON DAY 2 OF THE TRIAL (21 AUGUST)

Post by Tony Bennett on 21.08.13 21:48

THE APPEAL OF MICHAEL DOHERTY AGAINST A CONVICTION FOR ASSAULT – DAY 2

I have missed all the other prosecution witnesses giving their evidence and being cross-examined.

I was able to be at Court from 3.30pm today when Mr Dent, at the conclusion of the prosecution case, appeared to be making a submission that his appeal should be allowed as, in his submission, the prosecution had failed to prove that there had been an assault. The argument seemed largely to be about (a) whether in fact the Court clerk had been wrong in saying that Doherty couldn’t lay his information (b) whether Doherty’s response to the situation was proportionate and (c) whether chief security officer Nigel Carder’s response to Doherty was appropriate. I didn’t hear the beginning of his  submission, so apologies if I’ve got that slightly wrong.

This is what I did see and hear:

Dent: You have heard the evidence of Armstrong (court usher) and Pinter (Senior Court Clerk). There was no evidence from them that he was required to be removed. He was not threatening.

Miss Pinter had said in evidence he was arrogant, but agreed that he was ‘not belligerent’.

Furthermore, she agreed that there was no interference with court business and no delay to court business as a result of Doherty’s actions.  

Furthermore, when Carder had asked Pinter if she was ‘OK’, she had said ‘Yes I am’.

In addition, Carder didn’t actually hear the conversation between Pinter and Doherty so he had no idea whether Doherty was interfering with court business or causing any delay.

Judge: Yes, but if he is told by a member of the Court staff that he cannot pursue his private prosecution at the Court that day, and if he then doesn’t leave, if he refuses to accept that he can’t pursue his private prosecution there, and if he seeks to remain, is that not capable of being treated as ‘interfering with court business’.

Dent:  In my submission, no. That has not been established by the prosecution.

Prosecution:  Rightly or wrongly, he was told that he could not issue a summons at that court on that particular day. He refused to accept that advice.

Dent:  We have not in fact established that he could not lay the information that day.

Judge:  But he was told that it couldn’t be done, but he still acted in that way - surely that is at least capable of amounting to interference with the work of the court? Even if the Court staff were wrong, surely, in the round, as it were, his behavior was disruptive? If his behaviour was indeed disruptive, then can that not amount to interference or delay. Disruption can interfere with court business, can’t it? It could, couldn’t it?  

Dent:  But the law - Section 53 - doesn’t use the word ‘disruptive’. I suppose that if a person was disruptive it could amount to interfering with or delaying court business, but that depends very much on the nature and degree of the disruption.

Judge: But Doherty insisted it can be done, whereas the Court official said it can’t be done.

Dent:  But both Armstrong and Pinter conceded that there was no interference with the work of the court nor any delay in the court’s work. Pinter told Cerder: “I am all right”. Therefore Carder did not have a lawful reason under Section 53 to eject him in the first place. Carder admitted he didn’t even know precisely what Section 53 said. He didn’t know what the lawful criteria were.

Judge: But he believed there might be trouble? Doesn’t the law suggest that he is responsible for maintaining order.

Dent:  But there was no evidence of disorder when he exercised his power to eject. The Section 53 legislation doesn’t ‘bite’ unless there is evidence of disorder.

Judge: Let me have a look at the transcript - that is, after all, the transcript that your client has supplied.

Carder says: “There is nothing else that you can do. I suggest you go now”

Your client replies: “You’re security - you’re only security - I’m dealing with court staff”

Carder says: “Don’t talk to me like that”

Your client says: “I’m asking for an appointment - and that’s not your business”.

Dent:  But that’s not evidence of disorder. So he had no lawful power to remove Doherty. It was not necessary to remove him in order to maintain order.

My third point is ‘necessity’

There was no violence.

There was no suggestion of any.

Only lawful force may be used.

There must be a suggestion of disorder or violence.

Judge: But if someone refuses to leave, then force may be used?

Dent: But there was no necessity for force to be used. Carder made no attempt to resolve the situation. He didn’t seek a compromise. There was no mediation.

There is another issue.  Doherty came back into the Court after he was ejected.  Section 53 requires that Carder decide afresh if he has grounds to remove him. After all, he was by now inside the Court precincts again, talking quietly in a corner to a Police Community Safety Officer. He was not at that moment causing any interference or delay at all. So why was he ejected that second time? The reasons - even if valid - for his first ejection no longer applied. They ceased to be valid. And it was only after the second ejection that the incident in the door took place.

Judge: But he tries to get back in. He is still told that he can’t come in.

Prosecution in reply to Dent:  The one and only legal authority quoted by my learned friend is the Galbraith case. That is a case where there was absolutely no evidence to support the conviction.

Whether Diane Pinter was correct or not in saying that Doherty could not lay an information in the court that day is a red herring.

There were two Court clerks that day who both agreed that the procedure was to make an appointment with Peterborough Court and that he could not do so that day in Cambridge Court. They were both of the same view.

Judge: That was the procedure in that court on that day.

Prosecution: It is not the case that there is no evidence of disruption. This went well beyond the theshhold. He was being disruptive. He was arguing repeatedly.  Mr Carder said he was ‘disruptive’. It was blatantly obvious that he would disrupt court proceedings.

In deciding to eject Doherty, Carder took into account a number of factors:
1. The Pinter incident
2. The fact that she looked flustered
3. Her looking ’flustered’ was out of character
4. He had been told that he can’t do it [lay an information] but he won’t accept my advice.

Did the Defendant think that Pinter was going to get back to him? In my submission, no, because she said she was going to ‘phone Mr Davies to tell him something, not to ask him something.

Judge: It is not necessary to prove at he was either violent or disorderly. He has a duty to ‘maintain order’. That means that Carder under Section 53 has the right to remove him. This took place in the Family Proceedings Court where there was family business going on.

Dent: But the Court staff had directed him to that floor.

Judge: He is entitled to anticipate problems, hence the word ‘maintain’. Doherty had already engaged three people:  Armstrong, then Pinter, than Carder. This was at least potential interference with the Court’s business. So their business was interrupted.

Prosecution:  In this case, there is much more than weak evidence of disruption; the disruption was substantial. The Act implies that force can be used. The words in Section 53 are: “may remove or exclude” – therefore force can be used. In fact, subsection (5) specifically says that ‘reasonable force may be used where necessary’. Doherty was held by one arm held by each security officer. That force was reasonable.

Dent:   But Section 53 is looking back at something that has happened and is immediate - it must not be used merely in anticipation of further difficulty.

Judge: A court official could have been distracted. That could amount to delay. He was in the Family Proceedings Court, after all, where family cases were running.

Dent: Only if it has been established that there was an actual interferenc e or delay, which in my submission there was not. Doherty had been directed to Level 2 in the first place. His intention was simply to lay a private prosecution. He had a valid purpose.

Judge:  There is no dispute that he had a valid purpose. Turning up and asking about it is O.K. But he didn’t accept that he couldn’t issue the information that day.

Judge to Dent: Your submission of ‘no case to answer’ will be considered by us and we will give our decision when we reconvene.

Therefore we will have to adjourn the case part heard.  

Will you be calling Doherty in evidence?

Dent:  Yes

Judge:  Anyone else?

Dent:  We have no plans to at the moment.


CASE ADJOURNED TO 10th SEPTEMBER, AGAIN AT ST. ALBANS CROWN COURT

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Thank you for your report

Post by Deeply Disillusioned on 22.08.13 0:09

Dear Mr Bennett or should I also write young man?

Many thanks for informing the public of this judicial circus. Your excellent reports of both days give normal persons an invaluable insight into today's mockery of British (England & Wales only) justice. Its shameful. The judge seems biased, as in pre-determined.

Poor  Michael Doherty. He must be exhausted. The pervasive cancerous infection must be excised at the earliest opportunity or we all face the 'MICHAEL DOHERTY' treatment.  Bent does not adequately described it; corrupt is a little better.

Yours sincerely,

Deeply Disillusioned

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 22.08.13 6:50

Excellent reporting of yesterday's proceedings TB.

Not being a legal eagle I COULD be wrong but Mr. Doherty did not punch the security guard, he was not aggressive at any time and yet he has to attend court in September because he COULD HAVE BEEN.

He was in a public building, going about his lawful business - he was right, the court staff were wrong about the matter he attended the court about. He now finds himself in Court in September because he COULD have been aggressive in a family court area which he was directed to and possibly because he puffed out his chest.

EH?

When this is over Mr. Doherty COULD make some money by sending a copy of the cctv footage to You've been Framed!




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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by plebgate on 22.08.13 6:58

Why aint this being reported in MSM?

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Tony Bennett on 22.08.13 7:28

@Deeply Disillusioned wrote:Dear Mr Bennett or should I also write young man?

Many thanks for informing the public of this judicial circus. Your excellent reports of both days give normal persons an invaluable insight into today's mockery of British (England & Wales only) justice...
 Thank you - however, I have got one part of my report incorrect. I didn't hear the judge very well at the end and Michael informed me last night that the court reserved its decision on whether or not to accept Mr Dent's claim that, after hearing the prosecution case, there was insufficient evidence of an assault, and that the case should be dismissed. They will announce their decision later.  

Below, for information, I give information on the procedure for laying an information, or, as it's sometimes called, 'bringing a private prosecution, or 'applying for a summons'. I've highlighted a few points:


A GUIDE TO PRIVATE PROSECUTION PROCEDURE IN ENGLAND AND WALES

1. A member of the public can bring a private prosecution for any offence,
unless the offence is one for which the consent of the Attorney General
(AG) or the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is required before a
prosecution can take place. S.6(1) of the PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES ACT
1985 (POA).

2. The private prosecution is commenced by laying an ‘information’ at,
followed by the issue of a warrant by, a magistrate’s court
. Rule 7.2 of
the Criminal Procedure Rules (Crim.PR).

LAYING AN INFORMATION

3. Before a warrant can be issued an information must be laid at a
Magistrate’s court. R.7.2(2) Crim.PR.

4. The information may be laid before a magistrate or a magistrate’s clerk.
This must be done in writing. R.7.2(2) Crim.PR.


5. A written information is ‘laid’ as soon as it is received in the clerk’s office,
even if it is not considered by a clerk or a magistrate until later (R v.
Manchester Stipendiary Magistrate ex p. Hill [1983] 1 AC 238). No
standard form has to be used; all that matters is that the document sent
to the magistrate’s court contains the essential elements of an
information.
R v. Kennet Justices ex p Humphrey and Wyatt [1993] Crim.
LR 787.

6. The written information must contain statement of the offence that:

a. Describes the offence in ordinary language. R.7.3(1)(a)(i) Crim.PR.
b. Identifies any legislation that creates it. R.7.3(1)(a)(ii) Crim.PR.
c. Contains such particulars of the conduct constituting the commission
of the offence as to make clear what the prosecutor alleges against
the defendant

7. More than one incident of the commission of the offence may be
included in the allegation if those incidents taken together amount to a
course of conduct having regard to the time, place or purpose of
commission. R.7.3(2) Crim.PR.

ISSUING A WARRANT

8. Once an information has been laid, a magistrate or clerk may then issue
a warrant.


9. In deciding whether or not to issue a warrant, the magistrate or clerk
should ensure that:

a. an offence known to law is alleged;
b. it is not out of time;
c. the court has jurisdiction;
d. the informant has the necessary authority to prosecute (R. v.
Gateshead Justices ex p Tesco Stores Ltd. [1981] QB 470 at 478).

10. There is no obligation upon a magistrate or clerk to make any inquiries
before issuing a warrant. A warrant may be issued without giving the
parties an opportunity to make representations and without a hearing.
R.7.4(1) Crim.PR.

TRANSFER TO THE CROWN COURT

11. In respect of anyone appearing before the magistrate’s court on an
indictable only defence, the magistrate’s court must immediately transfer
the case to the Crown Court. S.51(1) CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998.

THE DPP

12. With respect to certain qualifying offences committed outside of the U.K.
a magistrate may not issue a warrant without the consent of the DPP.
S.4(A) to s.4(D) MAGISTRATES COURT ACT 1980 (MCA).

13. In addition, and further to POA s.6(1), the AG or the DPP (as head of the
Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] and under the general or special
directions of the AG) is always entitled to take over the conduct of the
private prosecution at any stage of the proceedings. POA s.6(2).

14. Once the DPP has taken over the conduct of the proceedings, he is free
to discontinue them if he thinks it would be appropriate to do so. POA
s.23-24.

15. The private prosecutor is under no duty to inform the CPS that a private
prosecution has commenced. However, the CPS may become aware of
a private prosecution by way of one of the following:

a. where the Private Prosecutor requests that the CPS take over the
prosecution;
b. where the defendant asks the CPS to take over the prosecution;
c. where a justices clerk refers a private prosecution to the CPS under
section 7(4) of the POA, because the prosecution has been
withdrawn or unduly delayed and there does not appear to be any
good reason for the withdrawal or the delay;
d. where a judge sends a report to the CPS;
e. where the CPS learns of the private prosecution in another way, e.g.
from a press report

16. Upon learning of a private prosecution, and if it so chooses, the CPS is
entitled to request a full set of papers from the private prosecutor and the
defendant/s. While the private prosecutor is obliged to comply with this
request, the defendant is not.

17. Upon review of the case papers, the CPS may take over and continue
with a private prosecution if it is demonstrated that

a. the evidential sufficiency stage of the Full Code Test is met (i.e. can
the evidence be used in court, is it reliable and is it sufficient to
provide a realistic prospect of conviction); and
b. the public interest stage of the Full Code Test is met; and
c. there is a particular need for the CPS to take over the prosecution.

18. All three elements must be satisfied before the CPS can take over and
continue with the prosecution.

19. Conversely, the CPS may take over and stop a private prosecution if,
upon having reviewed the case papers, it has been demonstrated that:

a. the evidential sufficiency stage of the Full Code Test is not met; or
b. the public interest stage of the Full Code Test is not met; or
c. even if the Full Code Test is met, where there is a particular need to
do so because the prosecution is likely to damage the interests of
justice, e.g.:

i. the prosecution interferes with another criminal offence;
ii. the prosecution interferes with the prosecution of another
criminal charge; or
iii. the prosecution is vexatious (within the meaning of s.42
Supreme Court Act 1981, as amended by section s.24 POA),
or malicious.

20. Where there is more than one charge, this policy should be applied to
each charge individually. R. v. PP, ex p. Duckenfield; R. Same, ex p.
Murray; R. v. South Yorkshire Police Authority and anor, ex p. Chief
Constable of the South Yorkshire Police; R. v. Same, ex p. Duckenfield
[2000] W.L.R. 55, DC.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

COMMENTS:

1.This is a very important branch of English law.

2. Sometimes the police and the CPS decide, for whatever reason, not to prosecute someone when someone clearly ought to be prosecuted. Every citiozen has the right to bring a charge agaisnt anyone if he thinks he has sufficient information that a crime has been committed.

3. As can be seen from the above, an information is laid by a person either writing to a Magistrates Court or simply handing a document to a Court clerk. The clerk doesn't have to decide there and then whether to issue proceedings. That can be done later when due consideration can be given, maybe in some instances by the chief clerk or by a Magistrate.

4. In this case, the following matters seem to have afffected what happened:

A. During the past 20 years, many Courts have been closed. Also, many Courts have removed their administration to one central office. This has happened in Harlow; there are no admin staff here now, you have to contact Chelmsford Magistrates Court. This causes a great deal of inconvenience to the public.

B. Maybe the Chief Clerk and Chief Magistrate for Cambridgeshire have decreed that a private summons can only be issued at Peterborough (45 miles from Cambridge). But that is different from where an application for a summomns can be received.

5. In Michael's case, when the matter got to the Court clerk, Diane Pinter, I think she had three choices:

(a) To say: "OK, I'll receive your application, I'll pass it to the Chief Clerk who will be in touch with you"

OR

(b) To say: "Wait a moment, I will check with the Chief Clerk at Peterborough, and see if we can accept your documents"

OR

(c) (which is what she actually did say): "We can't even receive your documents here, you can only present your application at Peterborough and you need an appointment even to do that".

6. IMO the only point at issue is whether or not a Court clerk at Cambridge could receive Michael Doherty's application for a summons. The failure of an official to simply accept his papers led to this whole incident - and tens of thousands of pounds of public money being spent in an effort to convict him of an assault - when it appears from ythe current evidence that it is accepted that Doherty did not actiually lay a hand on the secuirty officer.

7. There is another issue about the prosecution. Senior police officers and senior Crown Prosecution Service officers have clearly collaborated to bring this nprosecution. But was it really in the public interest to do so?

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Re: Michael Doherty - Appeal against conviction and £1,000 fine for assault - At St. Alban's Crown Court, tomorrow (20 August)

Post by Bob Southgate on 11.11.13 22:42

I've seen how Docherty responds to posts on Twitter that question and challenge him and his usual MO is to try and belittle and abuse those who hold an alternative viewpoint. He might get more support if he was to conduct himself in a dignified manner, but his usual response is insults and abuse to those whose viewpoint he doesn't like. A thoroughly objectionable man in fact.

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