In a very interesting Ruling by HHJ Parry at Mold Crown Court on January 8th, 2014, the proceedings in the case of O’Brien and Others, a conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and in which Olliers Solicitors acted for the defendant Kevin Molloy, was declared a nullity due to the failure of the Crown to obtain the required consent of the Attorney General to the proceedings being instituted.
The Defence submission was that the provisions of Section 1A of the Criminal Law Act 1977 applied and that, in the circumstances of this prosecution, the consent of the AG should have been obtained before the proceedings were instituted at all.
Whilst it was not disputed that permission from the AG had not been sought, the Crown argued that the third condition of Section 1A was not satisfied.
The trial Judge, however, was ultimately satisfied that all four criteria relating to Section 1A applied;
- that the pursuit of the agreed course of conduct would, at some stage, involve either an act or happening either by one or more of the parties or the happening of some other event intended to take place in a country or territory outside England or Wales;
- that the act, or other event, constitutes an offence under the law in force in that country or territory;
- that the agreement would fall within Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977 definition of a conspiracy but for the fact that the offence would not be an offence triable in England and Wales if committed in accordance with the parties’ intentions.
- that either a party to the agreement or the party’s agent did anything in England and Wales in relation to the agreement before its formation, or, a party to the agreement , or a party’s agent, did or omitted anything in England and Wales in pursuance of the agreement.
Whilst this ruling will, obviously, have far reaching ramifications in all current cases where Section 1A applies, there is also the potential for a myriad of convictions being referred to the Court of Appeal where the prosecution has been brought absent of the Attorney General’s permission.
Anton Paton, from Olliers Solicitors, acted for the defendant Kevin Molloy.