West Law Report

Trial judge’s power to commit

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on November 9, 2008

From The Times
October 24, 2008
Trial judge’s power to commit

Court of Appeal

Published October 24, 2008

Regina v M (Restraint order: Jurisdiction)

A trial judge did have jurisdiction to try an application by the prosecution for a defendant to be committed for contempt for allegedly breaching a restraint order.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, (Lord Justice Toulson, Mr Justice Andrew Smith and Mr Justice Bean) so held on August 14, 2008, when dismissing the interlocutory appeal of M, who was awaiting trial before Judge Goymer in Southwark Crown Court who held that he had jurisdiction to determine an application by the prosecution seeking committal of M for contempt of court, founded on an alleged breach of a restraint order, imposed under section 41 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, prohibiting him from dealing with certain realisable property.

MR JUSTICE BEAN said that, having regard to, inter alia, Balogh v St Albans Crown Court ([1975] QB 73), where the judge had effectively been prosecutor, and to DPP v Channel 4 Television Co ([1993] 2 All ER 517, 520E), where there was arguably a civil liberties issue which could not be advanced here, there was no reason why a crown court judge should not be able to try the instant application which was comparable to that of freezing-order cases.

It would be for the judge to consider whether there was sufficient evidence to support the allegation.

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