Administrative Court overturn conviction for refusing to provide name and address in relation to suspected breach of Coronavirus Regulations

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Tom Wainwright of the Garden Court Criminal Defence and Protest Teams represented Neale, instructed by Patrick Ormerod of Bindmans Solicitors.

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The Administrative Court sitting at Cardiff today issued an important judgment on the right to silence, the legal duties of citizens and the scope of the Coronavirus Regulations.

In Neale v DPP, the court quashed the applicant’s conviction for obstructing a police officer by failing to provide his name and address when requested to do so in order that a Fixed Penalty Notice be issued for allegedly breaching the Coronavirus Regulations.

No express legal duty to provide personal details to a police constable was created by the legislation and the High Court concluded that it was not possible to imply such a duty. In giving judgment Mrs Justice Steyn, sitting with Lord Justice Dingemans, observed that ‘the right to remain silent is not reserved only for those who are innocent and beyond suspicion’ and the court should be wary of expanding police powers by implication.

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