Maya Sikand instructed as junior in the Hookway bail case

Friday 22 July 2011

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On 30 June 2011, the Supreme Court granted permission to the Appellant (Greater Manchester Police) to appeal against McCombe J's decision in the High Court (R. (Chief Constable of Greater Manchester) v Salford Magistrates' Court and Hookway [2011] EWHC 1578 (Admin)), decided on 19 May 2011. Mr Hookway is a Respondent and is represented by Maya Sikand, led by Rabinder Singh QC at Matrix Chambers, instructed by Mary Monson Solicitors.

On 5 July 2011 the Government tabled emergency legislation (The Police (Detention and Bail) Bill) in response to the decision of the High Court. On 12 July 2011, the Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011 received Royal Assent. The effect of the 2011 Act is to amend PACE to make clear that any periods spent by an arrested person on police bail shall not be counted when calculating the total period of time spent by an arrested person in police detention before charge. That is, to give clear statutory authority for the practice adopted by police officers prior to the decision of the High Court. The Act purports to be retrospective.

The appeal in the Supreme Court was listed for 25 July 2011 but the Appellants recently applied to withdraw. The parties to the litigation were GMP, Mr Hookway, Advocate to the Court (amicus) and the Attorney-General of Northern Ireland (as Intervener). Subject to submissions about consequential orders that is the end of the SC appeal.

The retrospective effect of the 2011 Act

The retrospective effect of the 2011 Act (provided by section 1(3)) can itself be the subject of legal challenge, on the basis that it deprives individuals of their rights under the ECHR (i.e. the expunging of unlawful detention claims brought on the basis of the law as decided in Hookway) and accordingly is incompatible with Art 5 and/ or Art 1 Protocol 1. A challenge to the retrospective effect of the 2011 Act necessarily would rely upon the interpretation of Part IV of PACE contained in the decision of the High Court in Hookway.

Future claims for false imprisonment

There is scope within the context of a false imprisonment claim for arguing that the Act is incompatible with at least Art 5 and Art 1 Protocol 1. Of course any defendant will argue that Hookway was wrongly decided. Maya Sikand is of the view that there are compelling arguments to demonstrate that McCombe J was right.

Maya Sikand is a member of the Garden Court Police Law Team and Civil Law Team.

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