QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
1 Oxford Row, Leeds, LS1 3BG
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE KEITH
| R (MICHAEL CRAIK, Chief Constable of Northumbria Police)
|- and -
|NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE MAGISTRATES' COURT
|- and -
|(1) SIMON JASON PRICE
(2) MICK ROSE and nine others
The Defendant and the Interested Parties were neither present nor represented
Hearing date: 26 April 2010
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Munby :
The proceedings in the Magistrates' Court
"he really wanted an apology and recompense for his out of pocket expenses and that he had been rebuffed in this regard. Thus he was seeking to issue proceedings against the police. He indicated that he wanted Northumbria Police to be notified and did not object to them being invited to attend the application hearing. Indeed, he welcomed it as it would give him the chance to discuss a resolution without proceedings."
That account has not been challenged by Mr Price.
The judicial review proceedings
The law – false imprisonment
The law – the powers of the District Judge
i) The decision of a magistrate to issue a summons involves the exercise of a judicial function, from which it follows that a magistrates' court has a discretion to refuse to issue a summons where the proceedings would be vexatious, improper or for some other reason an abuse of the process of the court: see for recent statements of the principles R v Belmarsh Magistrates' Court ex p Watts  2 Cr App R 188 at page 195 and R (Mayor & Burgesses of London Borough of Newham) v Stratford Magistrates' Court  EWHC 2506 (Admin) at paras , -.
ii) It is an abuse of the process to issue proceedings with an ulterior motive, for example with a view to the prosecutor clearing his name rather than bringing alleged criminals to justice: ex p Watts at page 199.
iii) If the magistrates' court would have had power to refuse to issue a summons on the ground that the proceedings were vexatious or an abuse of the process, then the court equally has jurisdiction to stay the proceedings at a later stage: ex p Watts at page 196.
iv) The duty of the court under section 51 of the 1998 Act to send a case to the Crown Court does not preclude it from exercising its jurisdiction to stay proceedings as an abuse of the process, though it will very rarely be appropriate to do so: R (Salubi and another) v Bow Street Magistrates' Court etc  EWHC 919 (Admin),  2 Cr App R 40 at para .
The Chief Constable's case
"Though he was warden, yet it being found, that there was a deputy; he is not, as warden, guilty of the facts committed under the authority of his deputy. He shall answer as superior for his deputy civilly, but not criminally. It has been settled, that though a sheriff must answer for the offences of his gaoler civilly, that is, he is subject in an action, to make satisfaction to the party injured; yet he is not to answer criminally for the offences of his under-officer. He only is criminally punishable, who immediately does the act, or permits it to be done. Hale's P. C. 114. So that if an act be done by an under-officer, unless it is done by the command or direction, or with the consent of the principal, the principal is not criminally punishable for it. In this case the fact was done by Barnes; and it no where appears in the special verdict, that the prisoner at the Bar ever commanded, or directed, or consented to this duress of imprisonment, which was the cause of Arne's death."
"It is a point not to be disputed, but that in criminal cases the principal is not answerable for the act of the deputy, as he is in civil cases: they must each answer for their own acts, and stand or fall by their own behaviour. All the authors that treat of criminal proceedings, proceed on the foundation of this distinction; that to affect the superior by the act of the deputy, there must be the command of the superior, which is not found in this case."
"The act of the deputy cannot criminally affect the principal; so that unless the act be by command, consent, or privity of the principal, so as to make him an abettor, he cannot be guilty."
Mr Justice Keith :