Regina v Telford Justices, ex parte Badhan: CACD 1991

The defendant was accused of a sexual offence alleged to have been committed some 15 years earlier. He asked the magistrates to dismiss the charge as an abuse of process, and now appealed their refusal.
Held: The onus was on the accused to show, to a civil standard that a fair trial could not now take place, but if he did so, the magistrates had power to refuse to inquire into the allegation if it would be an abuse of process to do so, and: ‘where the period of delay is long, it can be legitimate for the court to infer prejudice without proof of specific prejudice.’
A long delay in a complaint may be more significant where the case depends on oral testimony.
Whoever asserts the abuse of process must prove it and to do so on the balance of probabilities.


Mann LJ


[1991] 2 QB 78, [1991] 2 All ER 854, (1991) 93 Cr App R 171, [1991] 2 WLR 866


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Derby Crown Court, ex parte Brooks QBD 1985
The court set out the characteristics of abuse of process in criminal matters. It may be an abuse of process if: ‘the prosecution have manipulated or misused the process of the court so as to deprive the defendant of a protection provided by the law . .
CitedRegina v Klisiak; Regina v Ramsgate Justices, ex parte Warren 1981
. .

Cited by:

CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions and others v Tokai and others PC 12-Jun-1996
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant had been charged in 1981 with offences alleged to have been committed shortly before. The proceedings continued until his appeal for one was dismissed in 1988. The wounding charges were proceeded with only in . .
FollowedRegina v JAK CACD 1992
The defendant was accused of rape and other indecent assaults going back some 20 years. He appealed against a refusal of a stay on the grounds of abuse of process given the very long delay before any complaint was made.
Held: The application . .
CitedRegina v Khan and Others CACD 7-Oct-2011
The appellants challenged their convictions for the fraudulent use of falsely completed applications to vote by post. They said that the prosecutors had failed properly to disclose other postal applications also suspected and collected by the . .
CitedGadd, Regina v QBD 10-Oct-2014
The prosecutor sought leave to bring a voluntary bill of indictment, to pursue historic sex abuse allegations against the defendant. The defendant objected to counts founded on facts which were the substance of a charge of indecent assault . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Magistrates, Criminal Practice

Updated: 25 October 2022; Ref: scu.188239