R (on behalf of Surrey Police) -v- S

Daniel Martin recently acted for a client in proceedings brought by the Crown on behalf of Surrey Constabulary.  The client was charged with multiple offences under the Public Order Act 1986, the Crime Disorder Act 1998 and the Police Act 1996.  The offences included using racially aggravated threatening words or behaviour with intent to cause alarm, harassment or distress, committed at a police station against serving police officers and custody staff.

Acting on Mr Martin’s advice, the client pleaded not guilty to all charges and advanced the exceptional defence of temporary insanity.  The defence sought to adduce expert evidence that the client could not have formed the necessary intent by virtue of a temporary psychotic episode.

Mr Martin took a pro-active approach, serving on the Crown detailed representations that continued prosecution was not in the public interest and was contrary to the Code for Crown Prosecutors 2013 (guidance published by the Director of Public Prosecutions as to when and how prosecutions should be brought by the CPS).

At trial the Crown sought to proceed, despite having not served sensitive information relating to the client’s medical treatment while in custody.  Mr Martin objected to this on the basis that proceeding in these circumstances would contravene the client’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The District Judge was sympathetic to the position taken by the defence and, happily, the Crown reconsidered its position and offered no evidence in relation to all the charges. The case against the defendant was subsequently dismissed.

18th March 2014