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 Act, the officer investigating is the prosecutor, until the case is taken over by the CPS, and the time limits run according to his knowledge. Logging devices were unlawful intercepts, but admissible.
Kennedy LJ set out the terms of section 11(2) and (3) saying: ‘[The defendant] contends that the words ‘sufficient in the opinion of the prosecutor to warrant the proceedings’ are merely descriptive of the evidence, and that the prosecutor would not have to form his opinion before time begins to run. I accept that submission because otherwise the prosecutor, in full possession of all relevant information, can prevent time from running simply by not applying his mind to the case.
Section 11(2) is an exception to the normal rule that summary offences should be prosecuted within six months. As an exception in favour of the prosecution it should be strictly construed. The draftsman could have provided that proceedings for an offence under subsection (1) ‘may be brought within a period of six months from the date on which the prosecution forms the opinion that there is sufficient evidence to warrant proceedings’ but he did not do so.’


Kennedy LJ


Times 29-Dec-1998, [1999] 1 WLR 968


Computer Misuse Act 1990 11, Interception of Communications Act 1985 9


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedLamont-Perkins v Royal Society for The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals (RSPCA) Admn 24-Apr-2012
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 . .
Appeal fromMorgans 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 . .
CitedRiley and Others v Crown Prosecution Service Admn 18-Oct-2016
The defendants appealed by case stated from convictions under the 2006 Act arising from the treatment of cows including at a slaughterhouse. Arguments were put that the prosecution was time barred.
Held: The court recognsed the limited role of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Criminal Practice

Updated: 09 April 2022; Ref: scu.83834