Costs Order Successfully Secured Against Private Prosecutor for Improperly Commencing Criminal Proceedings
Will Martin has successfully secured a costs order against a private prosecutor for improperly commenced criminal proceedings against his clients, three businessmen.
The private prosecutor, a solicitor, instigated proceedings alleging a conspiracy to blackmail. The allegations resulted from the private prosecutor’s acrimonious purchase of a London property owned by two of the businessmen. The prosecution case contended that the defendants had sought to artificially inflate the value of the property, and then made threats to enforce payment of the inflated sum. The defendants asserted that the transaction was characterised by legitimate robust commercial negotiation.
Successful representations were made by the defence to the Director of Public Prosecutions, leading to the Crown Prosecution Service taking over the case and offering no evidence against Will’s clients.
Following a contested hearing, the judge found that the private prosecutor should pay the defendant’s legal costs on the basis that the decision to prosecute constituted “an unnecessary or improper act” pursuant to s.19(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
Will was instructed by Peter Thibault at Hoffman-Bokaei-Moghimi Solicitors