The defendant, a maintenance manager, was accused of misconduct in public office. He had caused works to be carried out by other employees of the local authority on premises occupied by a friend when such works were not required under the authority’s repair policy. He said that as a local authority employee, and not being an employee of the Crown he could not commit the offence.
Held: He could. A local authority employee can commit the common law criminal offence of misconduct in public office. The defendant received a salary from public funds and was accountable for public funds. The offender was considered to be a public officer because he was ‘appointed to discharge a public duty and received compensation in whatever shape whether from the Crown or otherwise.’ The offence did not apply only to elected officials. The crime resembles the tort of misfeasance.
Independent 05-Apr-1995, Times 06-Mar-1995,  1 WLR 98,  4 All ER 505, 93/6974/X2
Local Government and Planning Act 1980 16, Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889
England and Wales
Cited – Henly v Lyme Corporation 1828
The plaintiff owned property by the sea. It was swamped by the tide because the corporation, who had been granted land by the Crown subject to a condition that it maintain the sea-defences of the cob, had ‘wrongfully and unjustly intending to . .
Cited – Regina v Llewellyn-Jones CACD 1968
The Registrar of a County Court was convicted of offences of misconduct in public office. The indictment charged ‘misbehaviour in a public office, contrary to common law’ and alleged that court orders had been made ‘with the intention of gaining . .
Cited – Regina v Hall 1891
On taking an office of trust concerning the public, a person makes himself answerable to the Crown irrespective of who they had been appointed by, and in what way the appointment arose. It is an ‘old principle that where an Act of Parliament creates . .
Cited – Rex v Whittaker 1914
The Court was asked whether the defendant, a regimentary colonel accused of receiving bribes in connection with the construction of a canteen, was a ‘public officer’ within the meaning of the relevant legislation.
Held: Lawrence J said: ‘A . .
Cited – Regina v Dytham CACD 1979
A constable was 30 yards away from the entrance to a club, from which he saw a man ejected. There was a fight involving cries and screams and the man was beaten and kicked to death in the gutter outside the club. The constable made no move to . .
Cited – Three Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England HL 18-May-2000
The applicants alleged misfeasance against the Bank of England in respect of the regulation of a bank.
Held: The Bank could not be sued in negligence, but the tort of misfeasance required clear evidence of misdeeds. The action was now properly . .
Cited – Attorney General’s Reference (No 3 of 2003) CACD 7-Apr-2004
Police Officers had been acquitted of misconduct in public office. They had stood by in a police station custody suite as a prisoner lay on the floor and died.
Held: The trial took place before R -v- G which had overruled Caldwell. The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Crime, Local Government
Updated: 20 December 2021; Ref: scu.86175