R v Church of England Vicar

The trial of a Church of England vicar wrongly accused of knowingly conducting almost 500 “sham marriages” and fraud was stayed as an abuse of process after seven weeks at Inner London Crown Court. Gelaga King leading Michaela Bonsu exposed serious misconduct on the part of the investigating officers through targeted requests for disclosure and skilful cross-examination.

Gelaga’s submissions on abuse of process were supported and added to by counsel for the other six defendants and the trial was stayed in respect of all defendants. Following the prosecution’s decision not to appeal the ruling the learned judge stated: “Finally, the most serious aspect of this trial. The absolute honesty, integrity and fairness of those who investigate and prosecute alleged offences is a fundamental component of the British criminal justice system. Yet, in this case, I have found that the officer in the case and the disclosure officer deliberately concealed important evidence and repeatedly lied on oath. On the face of it, offences of perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice have been committed.”

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