Andrew Price in successful Abuse of Process application staying proceedings
1 November 2018
On 25th October, Andrew Price, instructed by Edward Fail, Bradshaw and Waterson successfully argued that to continue a robbery trial against his client at Snaresbrook Crown Court would amount to an Abuse of Process. This followed a catalogue of ‘lamentable’ failures on the part of the prosecution to the extent that basic disclosure had not taken place until trial. Edward Fail, Bradshaw & Waterson had only recently been instructed and their conduct was described by the Trial Judge as “clearly alive to the issues and had done all that was within their power to ensure that the Prosecution were reminded of their responsibilities and complied with them”. An abuse application was made on the first day of trial, but the Judge ruled that a fair trial was still possible.
However, on day 3 of the trial, the Officer in Charge was cross-examined by Andrew as part of a voir dire about the investigation conducted, and disclosure that had followed, which gave rise to even further disclosure. Cross Examination of the Officer on day 4 revealed material differences between a statement provided by him and the notes made by that officer during his conversation with a witness. The officer had not disclosed the existence of the notes previously.
Mr Price submitted the prosecution had failed to remedy the flagrant breaches of their duties. The court held that the prosecution failures were ‘egregious’ and the cumulative effect of the errors in the investigation, retention and disclosure of material meant that a fair trial was impossible.