The right to bring a private prosecution was expressly retained by Parliament when the Crown Prosecution Service was created by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
It is an important tool for the public allowing individuals, corporate bodies and other organisations to bring a prosecution. It has become increasingly important in appropriate circumstances where the public prosecution authorities (such as SFO, FCA, CPS) have failed to act, or it is believed they may not act if requested to do so.
2 Bedford Row has a wealth of experience of public prosecution work at the highest level. The set boasts two former First Senior Treasury Counsel (Crime), as well as Standing Counsel to various government departments including The Health and Safety Executive, Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise and what was then the DTI, as well as very highly regarded junior counsel.
The set also has huge experience of advising upon, and acting in, private prosecutions on behalf of corporate clients, organisations and individuals – from serious and complex frauds, data and cybercrime offences as well as less complicated cases. We are experienced in advising clients to allow those bringing complaints as the victim of a crime (or attempted crime) to seek justice in the criminal courts where the authorities have failed to take action.
Our wide experience both in public and private prosecutions means that each case will receive careful advice and, where a prosecution is appropriate, an effective prosecution will be brought.
One such case is the recent private prosecution of the former CEO of DAS (UK) (Paul Asplin) and others at Southwark Crown Court. In that case, Paul Asplin was convicted and sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director for 12 years. This is to date one the largest private prosecutions ever successfully brought.