Regina v Horsham Justices, ex parte Reeves (Note): QBD 1980

The police had decided simply to re-lay charges which had already been dismissed after an extensive depositions hearing. The charges were simplified but essentially the same.
Held: This was an abuse of process. A court is possessed of a discretion which extends to enable it to stay a second prosecution where that second prosecution can properly be said to be oppressive in nature. Ackner LJ posed the question: ‘Should the prosecution be entitled, as they seek, to treat the first committal proceedings, for all practical purposes as a dummy run, and, having concluded that they over-complicated them, bring virtually the same proceedings but in a form in which they should have been brought if proper thought had been given by the prosecution to them, in the first place?’ He gave this a dusty answer: ‘To allow prohibition in this case should bring home to the prosecution the desirability of following the advice which the Appellate Courts have given again and again. The prosecution must direct its energies to the simplification of cases they desire to present. All too often juries, and to a lesser extent magistrates, are treated like computers into whom superfluous and ill-digested material is fed in the over-optimistic hope that somehow or another they will produce the right result.’


Ackner LJ


(1980) 75 Cr App R 236


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court ex parte Fiona Watts Admn 8-Feb-1999
The defendant sought to have dismissed as an abuse of proces charges against her that as an officer of Customs and Excise prosecuting the now private prosecutor, she had committed various offences.
Held: The magistrate was vested with . .
CitedEvans and Others v The Serious Fraud Office QBD 12-Feb-2015
The claimants had had criminal charges brought against them by the defendants. A court had ordered them discharged, but the defendant had recommenced proceedings and these second set of proceedings had also been dismissed by the court. They now . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.244671