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Lack of AG consent rendered proceedings a nullity

Nick Brett, Partner and crime solicitor at Brett Wilson LLP writes about a case where lack of AG consent rendered proceedings a nullity

Regina v CW and MM [2015] EWCA 906 was about a prosecution appeal against a ruling that the indictment and proceedings in a drug trafficking case were null and void. The allegations involved a conspiracy to supply heroin outside of the jurisdiction and therefore required the consent of the Attorney-General before proceedings were instituted (section 4 Criminal Law Act 1977). In this case consent was not given until a month or so after the Preliminary Hearings. The Crown sought to rely upon section 25 Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 which provides permission for arrest and remand where such consent has not been obtained. The question for the Court of Appeal was whether this provision extended to a Preliminary Hearing in the Crown Court. Dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal said that it did not. It cited the ability of the defendant to indicate how he intends to plead at that hearing as critical in determining that proceedings had already been instituted and therefore section 25 could provide no relief to the Crown in such circumstances.


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