Clea Topolski and Tasmin Malcolm, instructed by Pelin Mehmet of Criminal Defence Solicitors, co-defending with Deborah Morris, submitted an abuse against process argument, heard as the fourth trial in the proceedings was about to commence.
The case originally charged three of the five defendants with s.18 OAPA (Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with intent) but the discovery of undisclosed medical evidence led to the Crown amending the indictment to an attempted GBH. Other charges on the indictment included s.47 OAPA (Assault occasioning actual bodily harm), Possessing offensive weapons, common assault and dangerous driving. The allegations arose in the context of an alleged assault using belts, where it was said the Complainant was chased and thereafter struck by a motor vehicle driven by one of the Defendants.
The case, originally came for trial in July 2017 but three separate trials had to be aborted for various reasons without ever reaching a jury. The abuse argument, citing the cumulative effect of all of the inadequacies of the trials that came before, relied on the second limb of abuse, namely that it was no longer fair to try these defendants.
HHJ Lamb QC stayed the Indictment, stating that he was sure that continuing the Prosecution would give members of the public the impression that (1) an ends were being pursued whatever the means; (2) the criminal justice system has been brought into disrepute; and (3) it would be unfair. Almost two years after it began, the case has now concluded, the Prosecution having confirmed there will be no appeal against the terminatory ruling.