QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
33 Bull Street
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HALY||Claimant|
|CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WEST MIDLANDS POLICE||Defendant|
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Mr Holdcroft appeared on behalf of the Defendant
Crown Copyright ©
"15 Search warrants—safeguards
(1)This section and section 16 below have effect in relation to the issue to constables under any enactment, including an enactment contained in an Act passed after this Act, of warrants to enter and search premises; and an entry on or search of premises under a warrant is unlawful unless it complies with this section and section 16 below.
16 Execution of warrants.
(1)A warrant to enter and search premises may be executed by any constable.
(2)Such a warrant may authorise persons to accompany any constable who is executing it."
[INSERT REMAINDER OF SECTION 16]
"... is plain and non-compliance renders entry, search and seizure unlawful. Whether or not the property can be admitted in a criminal trial raises quite separate issues."
However, in a subsequent case in the Divisional Court, H v Commissioner of the Metropolis  EWHC 1947 (Admin) at paragraph 247, the following was stated in relation to failure to comply with section 16(10):
"Whilst return of the executed warrant to the issuing court is important, especially because of the potential materiality of the warrant for litigation...it would be surprising if a search that met all the statutory conditions applicable at the time it was carried out were to be invalidated retrospectively by a later failure to return the executed warrant to the court. On the face of it, s.15(1) requires the entry and search to comply with s.15 and s.16 in order to be lawful, and does not apply to events that occur after the entry and search have been completed. But even if that is an unduly restrictive reading of the provision, a breach of s.16 will not lead necessarily to the grant of relief ..."