A specialist legislation agency and animal rights charity could have been engaged in ‘systemic fraud’ and ‘perverting the course of justice’, by bringing abusive and unfounded private prosecutions, a decide has stated.
The honorary recorder of Manchester, Choose Nicholas Dean QC, this week stayed proceedings in opposition to Alex-Kaye Carrigan and Elisha Brown, who have been individually charged with unlawfully promoting pets, stating that the prosecutions have been an abuse of the court docket’s course of.
In a damning ruling, the decide stated the prosecutions introduced by the charity Animal Safety Providers (APS) and Liverpool legislation agency Parry & Welch, had been introduced and pursued ‘with no evidential foundation’ and ‘for wholly improper causes and functions’. The charity and legislation agency had used a ‘perverse interpretation’ of the legislation to convey fees in circumstances the place ‘nobody might correctly conclude that there have been reasonable prospects for conviction’.
The choices to cost Carrigan and Brown, stated the decide, ‘have been profoundly flawed, so flawed that it requires me to think about why the choices have been taken’.
Sitting at Manchester Crown Court docket, Choose Dean concluded that the prosecutions had been dropped at punish the defendants ‘regardless’ of whether or not they had dedicated any offence, and to get better ‘grossly exaggerated’ charges.
The decide stated that the proof in each circumstances consisted of ‘close to an identical’ two-page witness statements made by an worker of APS, which he stated ‘will need to have been copied and pasted from different statements’, and quick documentary reveals downloaded from the web.
Parry & Welch claimed £12,769 prices for the case from central funds. Their prices schedule included £502.50 for a two-hour evaluation of one case, and £290 for a one-hour convention between the solicitor and witness. Choose Dean branded the prices schedules ‘works of virtually pure fiction’.
The court docket heard that the charity has introduced between 80 and 100 private prosecutions this 12 months alleging comparable offences, and that many of the circumstances had been carried out by Parry & Welch. Most had remained in the Justice of the Peace’s court docket the place the decide stated defendants, some with out authorized illustration, could have pleaded responsible.
The place defendants elected trial in the Crown court docket, Parry & Welch have been instructed to withdraw proceedings.
In the circumstances of Carrigan and Brown, Choose Dean declined to permit the prosecutions to be withdrawn. He stated the withdrawal of proceedings in the Crown court docket ‘offers clear proof’ that the proceedings have been introduced for ‘improper motives’.
The decide stated the charity and agency sought to withdraw the prosecutions ‘to attempt to obtain swift restoration of charges’ and to ‘keep away from judicial scrutiny of their choices and actions’.
He accused APS and Parry & Welch of ‘severe misconduct’, which he stated was an ‘affront to the conscience of the legal justice system’.
The decide referred an earlier ruling wherein a decide at Preston Crown Court docket had stayed a prosecution introduced by APS, utilizing a distinct legislation agency, on account of the ‘improper monetary motive’ for convey the case. ‘The priority I’ve is that APS, typically at the side of Messrs. Parry and Welch, could have been concerned in systematic fraud and in perverting the course of public justice.’
He stated people could have pleaded responsible to offences as a consequence of being misled by APS and Parry & Welch, or due an absence of scrutiny of their actions.
Points raised in the circumstances required ‘a full and holistic investigation’. The decide stated he could be sending his ruling to the legal professional normal, Better Manchester Police, the Charities Fee and to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
James Parry, a associate at Parry & Welch declined to remark.
Jacob Lloyd, director of APS, advised the Gazette that the charity ‘strongly denies any allegation that it has been concerned in a fraud’ and is contemplating an enchantment. Lloyd stated the charity can also be contemplating a civil declare once more Parry & Welch.