Regina v Bow Street Stipendiary Magistrate Ex Parte South West Shipping and Others: QBD 22 Jul 1992

Rights to private prosecution and takeover by DPP were examined: ‘Section 3(2) and section 6 [of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985] make a coherent and consistent framework in which the right of a private citizen to bring a prosecution is preserved but subject always to the Director’s right to intervene at any stage. It provides a useful and effective safeguard against ‘improper action’ by the prosecuting authority. (I quote from the Report of the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure (1981) (Cmnd. 8092), p. 161, para. 7.50).’ ‘If there is evidence that a defendant has been guilty of an offence, then a desire to see him prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished is not an improper motive, especially where the prosecutor is one of the bereaved. Even if Mr Glogg’s motives were mixed, the court should be slow to halt a prosecution unless the conduct of the prosecution is truly oppressive: see Connelly v. Director of Public Prosecutions [1964] AC 1254, 1301, per Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest and Reg. v. Humphrys [1977] A.C. 1, 46, per Lord Salmon. The law was correctly stated on this point by Mann LJ in Reg. v. Telford Justices, ex parte Badhan [1991] 2 QB 78, 90.’ and ‘They have no power to refuse to embark on an inquiry because they think that a prosecution should not have been brought because it is, for example, mean-minded, petty or animated by hostility. It is for this reason that the powers of the justices are said to be ‘very strictly confined’.’


Lloyd LJ


Gazette 22-Jul-1992, [1993] QB 645


Prosecution of Offenders Act 1985 3(2)(a) 3(2)(c) 3(2)(d)

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Leeds Magistrates Court ex parte Serif Systems Limited and Hamilton Admn 9-Oct-1997
The applicant sought that summonses be set aside as an abuse of process, being begun to embarrass him as he set out to become an MP. Thirty one private summonses had been issued.
Held: Of the summonses to be continued it could not be said that . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 09 April 2022; Ref: scu.86173