An application was made for consent to file a voluntary bill against the defendants.
Held: Mr Justice Pitchers said: ‘No application for a voluntary bill is, in form, an appeal from a decision from another court. However, at least when a High Court Judge is considering an application following a refusal of justices to commit for trial, the decision of a lower court is being considered by a judge of a higher court. There may then be scope for taking a broader view of the circumstances in which it is right in effect to overturn the decision of the lower court. That is not this case and I express no further view on the point.
That cannot be said where an application for a voluntary bill is made after dismissal of transferred charges. It happens that the decision in this case was taken by a Circuit Judge but it might well have been taken by another High Court Judge. In those circumstances, it must, in my judgment, be wrong in principle for the prosecution to be able to get round a decision they do not like by inviting another judge to take a different view of the same material that was before the judge who dismissed the charge. In R v The Crown Court at Snaresbrook ex parte the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (1998) LSG 35, the Divisional Court pointed out that Bell J had refused to grant a voluntary bill on the basis that the application was in effect an appeal from one single judge to another single judge whose judgment appeared to be clearly and carefully reasoned. He said it was not obviously wrong or unreasonable.
I make no attempt to list the circumstances in which it might in general be appropriate to invoke the exceptional procedure of applying for a voluntary bill in transferred cases. That said, an obvious example would be if the judge had not had a crucial authority or statutory provision drawn to his attention. The context of this case is that the judge in dismissing the charges took the decision after detailed and careful argument and gave full and clear reasoned judgments. In this case, apart from one point made about the judge’s treatment of one area of evidence, the crown do not really argue he erred in law.
Therefore, to the extent that the crown argue I should come to a different decision from the judge on the same material that was before him, I reject the argument as fundamentally flawed.’
 EWHC 2828 (QB)
England and Wales
Cited – Gadd, Regina v QBD 10-Oct-2014
The prosecutor sought leave to bring a voluntary bill of indictment, to pursue historic sex abuse allegations against the defendant. The defendant objected to counts founded on facts which were the substance of a charge of indecent assault . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 February 2021; Ref: scu.263179