The appellant had assaulted the respondent. He had accepted a caution for the offence, but the claimant had then pursued a private prosecution. He now appealed refusal of a stay, saying it was an abuse of process.
Held: The defendant’s appeal succeeded. The caution had been a simple unconditional one. The notice accompanying it may have inaccurately described it as a criminal conviction. Though the 1986 Act did not prevent the right of a private prosecution after a caution, the appellant did not rely on that Act. His challenge was as to the fundamental unfairness of such a prosecution. He had been told that he would not be prosecuted, and he relied upon that representation before accepting the caution. This did not prevent such prosecutions after a caution had been given, but the caution as administered should follow Hayter with some adjustment.
Lord Mance observed: ‘the right of private prosecution operates and has been explained at the highest level as a safeguard against wrongful refusal or failure by public prosecuting authorities to institute proceedings’.
Lord Bingham said: ‘There are . . respected commentators who are of opinion that with the establishment of an independent, professional prosecuting service, with consent required to prosecute in some more serious classes of case, with the prosecution of some cases reserved to the Director, and with power in the Director to take over and discontinue private prosecutions, the surviving right is one of little, or even no, value . . [Counsel for the victim] is entitled to insist that the right of private prosecution continues to exist in England and Wales, and may have a continuing role. But it is hard to regard it as an important constitutional safeguard when, as I understand, private prosecutions are all but unknown in Scotland.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, Lord Mance
 UKHL 41, Times 31-Jul-2006,  3 WLR 179,  1 AC 63,  1 Cr App R 2,  Crim LR 74,  4 All ER 113
Prosecution of Offences Act 1985
England and Wales
Cited – Jones v Whalley Admn 10-May-2005
The defendant had been cautioned by the police for an assault on the claimant. The claimant then began a private prosecution which the magistrates stayed as an abuse of process.
Held: The caution administered was not simply a conviction so as . .
Cited – Regina v Croydon Justices Ex Parte Dean QBD 9-Mar-1993
The applicant a 17 year old assisted the police in a murder investigation on the understanding, induced by the police, that he would not himself be prosecuted. Some weeks later, at the instance of the CPS, the applicant was charged with a lesser . .
Cited – Gouriet v Union of Post Office Workers HL 26-Jul-1977
The claimant sought an injunction to prevent the respondent Trades Union calling on its members to boycott mail to South Africa. The respondents challenged the ability of the court to make such an order.
Held: The wide wording of the statute . .
Cited – R, Regina (on the Application of) v Durham Constabulary and Another HL 17-Mar-2005
The appellant, a boy aged 15, had been warned as to admitted indecent assaults on girls. He complained that it had not been explained to him that the result would be that his name would be placed on the sex offenders register. The Chief Constable . .
Cited – Regina v West London Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Klahn QBD 1979
The issue of a summons by a magistrate is a judicial act: ‘The duty of a magistrate in considering an application for the issue of a summons is to exercise a judicial discretion in deciding whether or not to issue a summons. It would appear that he . .
Cited – Regina v Horseferry Road Magistrates’ Court, ex Parte Bennett (No 1) HL 24-Jun-1993
The defendant had been brought to the UK in a manner which was in breach of extradition law. He had, in effect, been kidnapped by the authorities.
Held: The High Court may look at how an accused person was brought within the jurisdiction when . .
Cited – Hayter v L and Another QBD 3-Feb-1998
A private prosecution of a youth for an offence after he had accepted a caution was not an abuse of process, since the cautioner had warned him of the possibility. Poole J said: ‘The right of private prosecutions is subject to a number of procedural . .
Cited – Guest v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 5-Mar-2009
The claimant, the victim of an alleged assault, challenged the failure of the respondent to quash a conditional caution given to the assailant. The respondent accepted that a decision to prosecute would have been appropriate.
Held: The offence . .
Cited – Rollins, Regina v CACD 9-Oct-2009
The court was asked whether the Financial Services Authority had itself the power to prosecute offences under the 2002 Act. The defence said that the FSA’s powers were limited to offences under the 2000 Act. The FSA relied on its common law power to . .
Distinguished – Gore, Regina v; Regina v Maher CACD 14-Jul-2009
The defendants appealed aginst their convictions for inflicting grievous bodily harm. When first arrested they had been issued with fixed penalty tickets for much lesser offences. The police officers did not anticipate the seriousness of the . .
Cited – Scopelight Ltd and Others v Chief of Police for Northumbria CA 5-Nov-2009
The claimant sought return of items removed by the defendants under the 1984 Act. A decision had been made against a prosecution by the police. The police wished to hold onto the items to allow a decision from the second defendant.
Held: The . .
Cited – Rollins, Regina v SC 28-Jul-2010
The court was asked whether the Financial Services Authority had a power to prosecute money laundering offences under the 2002 Act, or whether, as contended by the defendant, its powers were limited to sections under the 2000 Act.
Held: The . .
Cited – Gujra, Regina (on The Application of) v Crown Prosecution Service Admn 9-Mar-2011
The claimant sought judicial review of a decision of the respondent to take over and discontinue his private prosecutions arising from public order incidents, saying that the respondent’s policy was unlawful in restricting such prosecutions.
Cited – Gujra, Regina (on The Application of) v Crown Prosecution Service SC 14-Nov-2012
The appellant had twice begun private prosecutions only to have them taken over by the CPS and discontinued. He complained that a change in their policy on such interventions interfered with his statutory and constitutional right to bring such a . .
Cited – Virgin Media Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Zinga CACD 24-Jan-2014
Zinga had been convicted of conspiracy to defraud in a private prosecution brought by Virgin Media. After dismissal of the appeal against conviction, Virgin pursued confiscation proceedings. Zinga appealed against refusal of its argument that it was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.243432