News Private Prosecution 26th Feb 2019

Private Prosecution Newsletter

Welcome to the Spring 2019 edition of 2 Hare Court’s Private Prosecutions Group newsletter.

In this edition:

Alison Levitt QC and Hannah Thomas discuss how to take steps that are quite routine for a public prosecutor but pose more difficulties for a private prosecutor, namely obtaining fingerprint evidence at the investigation stage, and obtaining an order disposing of a defendant’s property after conviction.

Fiona Robertson examines the perils of decision-making in parallel civil proceedings and private prosecutions, with reference to the recent case of Gilani v Saddiq [2018] EWHC 3084 (Ch)

Gavin Irwin and Amy Woolfson explore the complex issues that can arise if a defendant, or a prospective defendant, in a private prosecution is not in England and Wales.

Angus Bunyan and Sajid Suleman consider the oft-neglected issue of jurisdiction with particular reference to fraud prosecutions.

Christopher Coltart QC and Helen Lavery review the recent case of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism v DPP [2019] EWHC 9 (Admin) and the scope of judicial review for a disappointed private prosecutor.

We hope you find the newsletter interesting and informative.

We look forward to seeing you at our seminar on Wednesday 6th March at the Crowne Plaza hotel when members of the group will be speaking on ‘The Role of the CPS in Superintending Private Prosecutions’

Should you require any further information about our expertise in this field, or, an invitation to the above event please do not hesitate to contact our Director of Clerking, Julian Campbell.

Best regards,

Sarah Przybylska
2 Hare Court, Private Prosecutions Group

Fingerprints and Forfeiture Without the Powers of the State

Alison Levitt QC & Hannah Thomas

Matters that are routine in public prosecutions often pose greater difficulty for the private prosecutor, who does not have access to the resources available to the State.  This article will explore two such matters: obtaining a suspect’s fingerprints and, post-conviction, disposing of criminal property seized from a defendant.


A private prosecutor may have an interest in obtaining the following:

  1. A suspect’s fingerprints, held by the police, for the private prosecutor to compare with marks on a document or object;
  2. The results of fingerprint analysis already carried out by the police on a document or object;
  3. Where the police do not already hold them, fingerprints from a suspect / defendant so that the private prosecutor can conduct her/his own expert analysis;
  4. Fingerprints from a convicted defendant to be retained on the PNC for use in future criminal proceedings…

Read More

The Impact of Tactical Decisions on Parallel Proceedings

Fiona Robertson

The parallel use of civil actions and private prosecutions is increasingly common, particularly in cases relating to alleged fraud.  Practitioners must, however, be alive to the risk that tactical decisions in one action may have a knock on effect in the parallel action.

Such risks were brought to the fore recently in Gilani v Saddiq [2018] EWHC 3084 (Ch).  The claimant had brought a civil claim against the defendants in the Business and Property Courts.  The claimant applied to the Business and Property Courts pursuant to CPR 31.22 for permission to use documents disclosed by the defendants in that claim as evidence in his separate private prosecution against two of the same defendants for fraud.

The CPS had exercised its right to review the private prosecution and decided not to intervene, being satisfied that it was properly brought as regards the evidential and public interest tests…

Read More

The Man Who Wasn’t There: Private Prosecutions, Extradition and Interpol

Gavin Irwin & Amy Woolfson

One of the factors that any private prosecutor should consider is the whereabouts of any prospective defendant.  What happens if a defendant is not in England and Wales when a private prosecutor applies for a summons?  What can a private prosecutor do to ensure the attendance at trial of a defendant who refuses to return to the jurisdiction? What would happen in ‘Country X’ if an extradition request were made?

In order to secure the return to England and Wales of an uncooperative defendant from overseas, an extradition request must be made.  If a defendant is outside the jurisdiction, that is, if s/he is habitually resident, or is regularly travelling, outside England and Wales, a private prosecutor will need to consider whether, and how, it is possible to secure her/his attendance at trial…

Read More

Jurisdiction: Substantial Measures and Relevant Events

Angus Bunyan & Sajid Suleman

As readers will doubtless recall, in R. (on the application of Kay) v Leeds Magistrates’ Court [2018] EWHC 1233 Admin, a case concerning a private prosecution, Sweeney J, following R v West London Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Khan [1979] 1 WLR 933, DC, and subsequent authority, rehearsed the five key questions about which a magistrate must be certain before exercising his discretion to issue a summons.  These are:

(i) is the offence known to law,

(ii) if so, are the essential ingredients prima facie present,

(iii) is the offence not time-barred,

(iv) does the court have jurisdiction and

(v) does the informant have the necessary authority?

Read More

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism v DPP

Christopher Coltart QC & Helen Lavery


The recent case of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism v DPP [2019] EWHC 9 (Admin) provides a useful summary of when a private prosecution will be discontinued. It also serves as a reminder of the limited scenarios in which the High Court will allow a challenge to the DPP’s decision to discontinue.


In June 2017, four days after the Grenfell Tower fire, the annual Al Quds Day pro- Palestinian protest and parade took place in central London.  The participants of the parade were led by a Mr Ali, who publicly addressed the rally at some length. Some of the address was captured on film, recording suggestions by Mr Ali that Israel was a terrorist state and that Zionist corporations were responsible for the murder of those who died in the Grenfell fire.

Read More

Categories: News