The defendant had been convicted of animal cruelty. She appealed to the Crown Court, and now appealed against rulings made by the judge as to the time limits for a prosecution under the 2006 Act in the Magistrates Court. She said that the RSPCA conducting a private prosecution was not a ‘prosecutor’ able to take the benefit of section 31 of the 2006 Act. She argued that the power under section 31 of the 2006 Act to certify conclusively for the purposes of limitation when matters came to the prosecutor’s knowledge was a power that was restricted to state prosecutors and not to private prosecutors.
Held: After a review of the provisions of the Act, the power was a power available to all prosecutors.
The phrase ‘the prosecutor’ in section 31 of the 2006 Act is not limited to prosecutors who prosecute pursuant to a power conferred by some statutory provision but applies to anyone who initiates a prosecution under the Act. The absence of a remedy by way of judicial review against a private prosecutor was not a basis to conclude that section 31 was to be interpreted so as to exclude private prosecutors from its ambit. The magistrates’ court in which a prosecution is brought can investigate whether or not the proceedings have been brought within the time limit specified in section 31 of the Act and it can also investigate whether any certificate issued under section 31(2) should be treated as conclusive of the facts stated therein. Once an appropriate procedure exists for contending that the prosecutor has not brought proceedings within time or that the certificate issued under section 31(2) should not be treated as conclusive evidence of the facts stated therein the absence of a remedy by way of judicial review loses much of its significance.
Sir John Thomas P
 EWHC 1002 (Admin)
Animal Welfare Act 2006 4 31, Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 127(10
England and Wales
Cited – Kerr v John Mottram Ltd ChD 1940
The court considered an application by a shareholder of a company to enforce an alleged contract for the sale of shares that he claimed were offered to him at a meeting of the company. The minutes of the company meeting did not support the . .
Cited – Regina v Haringey Magistrates’ Court ex parte Amvrosiou Admn 13-Jun-1996
When the appellant appeared at the Magistrates’ Court to answer a charge of driving whilst uninsured, a preliminary point was taken on her behalf that the prosecution had not been commenced within 6 months of the date on which evidence sufficient in . .
Cited – Terra Woningen BV v The Netherlands ECHR 17-Dec-1996
A court had considered itself bound by a decision of the Provincial Executive within the Netherlands adverse to the applicant company.
Held: That was in breach of article 6(1). There was not access to a tribunal with sufficient jurisdiction to . .
Cited – Morgans v Director of Public Prosecutions QBD 29-Dec-1998
The defendant argued that once the prosecutor had all the material on which the prosecution was eventually brought, then for the purposes of section 11(2) time began to run.
Held: When considering the time limits for a prosecution under the . .
Cited – Morgans v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 18-Feb-2000
Without a warrant, the police had arranged for a call logger to retain details of the calls made, including the number called, time and duration. The dialing itself was a communication, which established a connection, through which further . .
Cited – Burwell v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 1-May-2009
The defendant appealed against the decision of the Magistrates to accept a prosecutor’s certificate as to compliance with time limits for commencing the prosecution. He argued that the police had all the evidence in their possession at an earlier . .
Applied – Browning v Lewes Crown Court and RSPCA Admn 24-Apr-2012
The claimant appealed against the refusal by the respondent to state a case regarding its conviction of the claimant of offences under the 2006 Act.
Held: In view of the case of Perkins, the application failed save that the Crown Court should . .
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.
Animals, Magistrates, Criminal Practice
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.452904