Quentin achieves discontinuance of prosecution in Malicious Communications case

Quentin achieves discontinuance of prosecution in Malicious Communications case


Mr WH is a schoolboy who was accused of an offence under section 1 of the Communications Act 2003.


WH had been part of a Discord Server group with friends from his school. As a part of their group, members were egged on to post shocking and offensive content. Although obviously unacceptable this was part of a pattern of joking behaviour amongst the group.


A girlfriend of one of the members of the group viewed the materials and shared it with members of her friendship group. In due course the messages had been shared around their whole school.


Before long the Police were involved, they called WH to attend an interview under caution and WH was invited to give his version of events. Following interview, the matter was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided to prosecute WH for a criminal offence of sending an indecent or grossly offensive communication. WH was therefore served with a summons to attend his local Magistrates Court to answer charges. WH and his parents were terrified of these proceedings, WH was a young man with an exemplary previous record and a seemingly bright future in front of him and a criminal record could have severely dented his future prospects.


Following the issue of the Court summons WH’s parents contacted specialist Criminal Defence Barrister Quentin Hunt to advise and represent WH in his case.


Upon instruction Quentin had a detailed series of meetings with WH and his parents in which he explored the background to the alleged offending and the personal and educational background of WH. Following the taking of instructions Quentin was of the view that the proceedings may be able to be stopped in their tracks. Following criminal charge an accused is allowed to write a letter of representations to the Crown Prosecution Service. The drafting of such a letter is a real art and an effective letter of representation can lead to the discontinuance of a case.


Quentin set about drafting such a letter on behalf of WH, the letter stressed the evidential problems in the prosecution case, the strength of the defence case and the total lack of public interest in prosecution. The letter was sent to the CPS well in advance of the first appearance in the Magistrates Court.


A week before the Court hearing, to the delight of WH and his parents, Quentin received a formal notice of discontinuance in the case pursuant to section 23 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1984. This meant that the prosecution against WH would not be taking place and WH could continue his promising life without the burden of a criminal conviction affecting his prospects.


Quentin Hunt is a criminal defence barrister who accepts instructions through solicitors and from members of the public on a direct access basis. Quentin is often instructed at a very early stage of proceedings and prides himself on a reputation of making very effective pre-trial representations. Quentin believes that ‘the best way to win a trial is not to have a trial at all’ and many of Quentin’s previous clients have avoided the stress and financial hardship of trials by cases being discontinued or dropped by the CPS at an early stage.


If you find yourself facing criminal prosecution you may contact Quentin for a free, no obligation conversation about your case and how Quentin may be able to assist.