Court of Appeal overturns Serious Crime Prevention Order.
Mr RS had been convicted of money laundering offences before the Manchester Crown Court following trial. The prosecution that was brought by the Nation Crime Agency applied for a Serious Crime Prevention Order under the Serious Crime Act 2015.
RS’s lawyers who had represented him at trial appeared to concede the issue of the imposition of the Serious Crime Prevention Order. RS did not agree with this and instructed Quentin Hunt on a Direct Public Access basis to take over representation and oppose the imposition of the order.
The power to make such an order is outlined in s19 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. Under s19(2) the Court may only make an order if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the order would protect the public by preventing, restricting, or disrupting involvement by the person in serious crime. The test for the order was relied upon assessment of future risk of the defendant ( as per R v Hancox and Duffy 2010 EWCA Crim 102).
Section 3(b) states that where the Court is dealing with a person who:
has been convicted by or before the Crown Court of having committed a serious offence in England and Wales. The Crown Court may, in addition to dealing with the person in relation to the offence, make an order if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the order would protect the public by preventing, restricting, or disrupting involvement by the person in serious crime in England and Wales.
Under s5, the order may contain:
a) such prohibitions, restrictions or requirements, and
b) such other terms, as the court considers appropriate for the purpose of protecting the public by preventing, restricting, or disrupting involvement by the person concerned in serious crime in England and Wales.
Quentin proceeded to analyse the case and submitted detailed written submissions to the Crown Court relating to the necessity of the order and the proportionality of the proposed terms of the order. Despite these submissions the Learned Judge imposed an order but changed some of the terms of the order in line with Quentin’s submissions on proportionality.
Following the imposition of the order, Quentin discovered a procedural irregularity within the Prosecution’s application of the order, he was also of the view that the trial judge was wrong to impose some of the terms of the order. He therefor submitted an appeal to the Court of Appeal Criminal Division; this was supported by a detailed advice on appeal and grounds of appeal.
Upon consideration of Quentin’s arguments the Prosecution indicated that they opposed the appeal. However, they conceded that Quentin’s arguments were correct relating to a part of the order relating to motor vehicles. This part of the appeal was therefore conceded by the prosecution.
The matter was granted leave to appeal by the single judge and was heard in the Court of Appeal before Lady Justice Macur, Mr. justice Julian Knowles and His Honour Judge Edmunds.
During oral argument Quentin highlighted the procedural deficiencies in the process of the obtaining of the order and argued in the alternative that the terms of the order were not in accordance with the legislation. His arguments were that:
(i) The applicant for the SCPO was not authorised to make the application.
(ii) The judge erred in her assessment that there was evidence to establish that there was a future serious risk that A1 and A2 would commit further serious offences and that an SCPO was necessary to protect the public by preventing, restricting, or disrupting their involvement in serious crime in England and Wales.
(iii) Alternatively, the terms of the order are disproportionate, excessive, and unworkable.
Following argument, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgement stating that they agreed with Quentin’s first ground of appeal and therefore there was a procedural irregularity such that the Serious Crime Prevention Order was a nullity, the order was set aside and the appeal allowed. The Court also indicated that had the order not been a nullity they would have allowed the appeal in part on Quentin’s further grounds that the terms of the order were disproportionate.
The appeal is published and can be found at R v Shirley & Anor  EWCA Crim 475.
Quentin Hunt is a Criminal Defence Barrister with significant experience in both appeals and Serious Crime Prevention Orders. He accepts instruction both through solicitors and directly from members of the public. If you wish to discuss an appeal case or a case involving a serious crime prevention order you may contact Quentin for a free no obligation conversation about your case.