High Court allows appeal on time limit for prosecuting summary offences

Thursday 14 June 2018

Owen Greenhall of the Garden Court Crime Team acted for the appellant in a case described by the High Court as one ‘which raises a short but important point as to the...time limit on the commencement of a prosecution for a summary offence’.

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The Appellant was involved in an incident where he bit another man on the nose. He was first charged with the indictable offence of ABH 8 months after the incident and outside the 6-month time limit for summary offences. The charge was later amended to the summary only offence of common assault. The appellant was convicted after trial and appealed against the jurisdiction of the magistrates’ court to try the case.

Following the drafting of detailed grounds of appeal by Owen Greenhall the CPS decided not to oppose the appeal. The High Court accepted the appellant’s argument and quashed the conviction. Had the approach of the magistrates’ court been endorsed then the safeguards provided by the time limit for prosecuting summary offences and the consequential right to trial by jury for offences charged beyond 6-months from date of offence would have been significantly eroded.

The case has been reported on Crimeline and other practitioner sources. The judgment is available here (Dougall v CPS [2018] EWHC 1367 (Admin))

Owen Greenhall was instructed by Natalie Bourke of Lloyds PR solicitors. Owen is a member of the Garden Court Crime Team.

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