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mountford chambers

Anthony James successful in abuse of process argument


Anthony successfully argued that proceedings against his client should be stayed as an abuse of the court’s process at Woolwich CC.

Anthony’s client faced 4 counts under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Following written representations from the defence, the RSPCA, prosecuting, wrote to the court and defence indicating the acceptability of guilty pleas to the less serious alternatives on the indictment at Counts 3 and 4.

Those pleas were duly entered at court and the case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report. The sentencing judge on the next occasion expressed dissatisfaction about the RSPCA’s decision to accept the lesser pleas. The matter was adjourned with the RSPCA required to consider the position. On reviewing the case, the RSPCA wrote to the defence saying that it would in fact proceed on Counts 1 and 2. The case was adjourned for trial and a timetable set for a possible abuse of process argument.

On day one of the trial, Anthony argued that to proceed in such a manner following an unequivocal representation from the prosecuting body that it would not, both in writing and coram judice, would be an abuse of the court’s process. This application was resisted by the RSPCA.

Following two days of legal argument, the trial judge agreed with Anthony’s submissions and stayed proceedings as an abuse of process. Anthony’s client was sentenced for the lesser pleas to a community order.

Anthony was instructed by Paul Robinson of Goldkorns Solicitors.

Anthony accepts instructions in all areas of criminal law, particularly in cases involving complex legal argument and cases brought under animal welfare legislation.


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