Authorities Changed Decision Not To Prosecute Overnight
On 3rd January 2007, Richmond Council's Chief Executive Mrs Norton personally e-mailed me to confirm that summonses have been issued against me and to state that I would be facing trial. (click here for exhibit) It all became crystal clear why the CPS and the police took such extreme measures by having me and even my mother arrested instead of providing me with my file as the authorities had reneged on their decision not to prosecute.
The police previously confirmed that "it will be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether or not you should be prosecuted and it would be inappropriate of me to intervene in an investigation by another lawful authority." (click here for exhibit) It was later confirmed that the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take no further action. (click here for exhibit)
Just as the search warrant and my arrest details changed overnight and the nature of the offence changed overnight from CD's to DVD's to Counterfeit clothing, so did the decision not to prosecute change overnight from no further action – no court appearance to being summonsed to Court.
The law states in section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 that the CPS has the ultimate say in the decision to charge in all criminal proceedings . The decision to prosecute rests solely with the CPS and no other authority (Police, Trading Standards etc) can overrule the decision of the CPS. This is the case in all criminal proceedings. So how was it possible for Mrs Norton, Chief Executive of Richmond Council to bring a criminal case against me after the CPS confirmed that there would no further action - no court appearance?
On 4 April 2007, I was served with a "formal committal bundle" by Richmond Council. A committal bundle should contain the full case papers together with witness statements and exhibits relating to the charge that the prosecution would like committed to trial in the Crown Court., i.e. in this case it should contain witness statements and exhibits relating to the Trade Mark Act charge. However, the "formal committal bundle" provided by Richmond Council was exactly the same as the bundle previously provided called "Advance Information". Richmond Council were supposed to prepare committal papers relating to the charge that they wanted to commit to the Crown Court - the Trade Marks Act charge.
However, the bundle passed off as the “formal committal bundle”, did not contain any evidence relating to the Trade Marks Act charge. To demonstrate this, the entire committal bundle contained witness statements and exhibits relating to Copyright offences, when the charge the prosecution wanted to commit to the Crown Court was an offence of one CD breaching the Trade Marks Act.
The one CD the authorities claimed breached the Trade Marks Act, was a CD by artist Alicia Keys, and this one CD was nowhere to be seen in the paperwork. So the entire case was about one CD breaching the Trade Marks Act and this one CD was not even an exhibit in the case. You cannot even see if the CD breached any Trade Mark as the CD and the Trade Mark do not appear in the paperwork. It is impossible to dispute whether one CD is breaching the Trade Marks Act when the one CD is not even an exhibit in the case.
The entire “formal committal bundle” referred to Copyright offences instead as the prosecution had absolutely no evidence in relation to the Trade Mark Act offence as one can see from viewing the committal bundle. Therefore, as there was no evidence to put me on trial for the Trade Marks Act offence, it should have been a straightforward matter to have the case thrown out at the committal stage.
The reason why I was unrepresented for the committal hearing was because every time I consulted, agreed to appoint, or have appointed a solicitor, it seems that the authorities have interfered and contacted the solicitor to tip the scales of justice in their favour.
Despite these bad experiences, after I was committed to trial unlawfully, I once again had to try and obtain a solicitor to work in my best interests as the authorities were about to try me when they had no legal jurisdiction to do so and try me without even providing me with any case papers in relation to the charge that they wanted me to face.
Based on a recommendation, I instructed Russell Cooke Solicitors to represent me in these proceedings as I was informed that they were a highly reputable company. However, from my experience this was far from the case.
Russell Cooke Solicitors faxed a formal brief to counsel which included the defective committal papers and clearly instructed a barrister from 5 Paper Buildings to represent me based on these papers. Before the plea and case management hearing, the barrister appointed by Russell Cooke Solicitors would not discuss the case with me which was strange as he was supposed to be representing me. As the barrister would not discuss the case with me, I had no choice but to relieve him of his duties. The barrister immediately departed Court and left in my possession the original faxed formal brief to counsel.
When Russell Cooke Solicitors found out that the barrister was relieved of his duties, Russell Cooke immediately resigned and requested the return of the original fax to counsel with immediate effect. However, Russell Cooke would no doubt know that all work they do on behalf of their client is their client’s property.
Russell Cooke went to the extreme lengths of threatening me with legal action if I did not return the original faxed formal brief to Counsel with immediate effect as the original fax conclusively proves that Russell Cooke instructed counsel to represent me based on paperwork which is clearly defective. This formal brief to Counsel proves that the prosecution did not even provide me with case papers for the offence they wanted to try and Russell Cooke Solicitors would have known this by viewing the “formal committal bundle”. However, Russell Cooke reviewed the paperwork and went to the lengths of writing a brief to Counsel requesting Counsel to represent me based on these defective papers.
The original fax proves, without any doubt that Russell Cooke were not acting in my best interests. Furthermore, their subsequent threats of legal action in order to try and retrieve the incriminating evidence further proves that they were knowingly not acting in my interests and proves that they are fully aware that the paperwork condemns them.
Each party has been contacted before this publication has gone public and Russell Cooke, Tesco's and Westminster Trading Standards were the only parties who provided their right of reply. Russell Cooke Solicitors explained that due to time constraints, they did not appropriately consider the committal papers before it was faxed to counsel.
The facts are that I instructed Russell Cooke Solicitors on 18th April 2007 to represent me and they faxed the "dodgy" case papers to 5 Paper Buildings on 9th May 2007. They claim that they only had two working days to consider the paperwork due to a delay in obtaining a representation order.
It would surely only take a solicitor a few minutes to look through the paperwork to see that it's not committal bundle for the offence that was committed to the Crown Court as there were no exhibits in relation to the charge. Furthermore, I spent over an hour with the Russell Cooke solicitor discussing the case as he went through the committal bundle with me and at no time did he inform me that the case papers were fraudulent.
The committal bundle did not include a draft indictment or a charge sheet and as such the solicitor would have had to review the paperwork to ascertain the charges in order to instruct Counsel accordingly. This proves that the Russell Cooke solicitor viewed the committal bundle and after reviewing it, Russell Cooke were satisfied to instruct counsel to represent me based on these papers when there was absolutely no case against me. If Russell Cooke solicitors were working in my best interests they would have had the case thrown out at this stage.
And lastly, if Russell Cooke Solicitors explanation is true in that they did not have enough time to appropriately consider the paperwork, then why would Russell Cooke Solicitors go to such extreme lengths to threaten me with legal action if I did not return the formal brief to counsel with immediate effect?
The reason is clear, it is because this formal brief to counsel which is in my possession proves that the Court, the prosecution and Russell Cooke Solicitors were all fully aware that I was needlessly dragged through the Courts to face a trial when the prosecution did not even prepare case papers for the actual charge that I was facing.
Appointed Russell Cooke Solicitors But They Did Not Work In My Best Interests
Committal hearings are common law procedures to protect the interests and rights of defendants and acts as a safeguard to a malicious prosecution. "The function of committal proceedings is to ensure that no one shall stand trial unless a prima facie case (case to answer based on the papers) has been established. This is important to ensure that an accused person is subject to criminal proceedings for no longer than necessary." (R. v. Epping & Harlow, ex parte Massaro, 1973, 57 Cr.App.R.499)
At the committal hearing on 12 April 2007, the Magistrates' are required to consider whether or not there is sufficient evidence to put the defendant on trial by jury for any indictable (i.e. either way) offence. I was unrepresented and I submitted to the Magistrates’ at Richmond Magistrates' Court that I wished to contest the committal, as there was absolutely no evidence against me to put me on trial.
"Where any accused is without a legal representative, the Court must consider the evidence in order to validly to commit the case to the Crown Court - section 6(2)(a) Magistrates' Court Act 1980." (exhibit)
However, I was denied my legal right that every single defendant in the UK has to contest the evidence in the committal papers. Although I was unrepresented, the examining justices' refused to consider the evidence (as there was no evidence) at the committal stage which they must do so by law - section 6(2)(a) Magistrates Court Act 1980.
Instead, the Magistrates' who must stand for justice committed a horrendous act of injustice by committing the case unlawfully to trial at Kingston Crown Court without consideration of the evidence under section 6(2) Magistrates' Court Act 1980.
The law is extremely clear on this matter, when an accused is without a legal representative, a Court cannot lawfully commit a case to trial under section 6(2) Magistrates' Court Act 1980.
If an accused is unrepresented, the Magistrates' must then perform a paper hearing, to see whether there is enough evidence to commit the accused to trial. If the Magistrates’ find that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, the case can then be committed to trial under the provisions of section 6(1) Magistrates’ Court Act 1980.
If the Magistrates' upheld the law and performed a paper hearing under section 6(1) as they were required to do so in law, then the case would have been thrown out immediately as there was absolutely no evidence to consider for the Trade Marks Act offence which can be seen from viewing the “formal committal bundle”.
Instead, to ensure that the case proceeded to trial, I was not afforded any protection in law as the Magistrates' wilfully broke a fundamental law that protects the rights of defendants from malicious prosecutions by unlawfully committing me to trial without consideration of the evidence under section 6(2) Magistrates' Court Act 1980. The law states that a failure to comply with the mandatory requirements of section 6(2) Magistrates' Court Act 1980 automatically renders the committal and anything thereafter (trial, conviction, sentence, and any order of court resulting thereof) a nullity.
The legal committal documents from the Court conclusively prove that the examining Justices’ and the Court Clerk were fully aware that I was unrepresented and yet still committed me to trial contrary to the provisions of section 6(2) Magistrates’ Court Act 1980.
It was also brought to the attention of several judges, Richmond Council’s Chief Executive Mrs Norton, Richmond Council’s Assistant Head of Legal Services Mr Chris Warner, Heads of Her Majesty’s Court Service, the prosecution barrister and many more that the case was not validly committed to trial, however, they all turned a blind eye to the fact that I was unlawfully committed to trial for an offence that the prosecution had absolutely no evidence for and continued with the proceedings in full knowledge that the proceedings are a nullity.
Evidence To Prove That The Committal Was Unlawful, Rendering The Subsequent Trials, Sentences & Convictions Null & Void
The legal committal documents (certificate of committal and directions for case committed) from the Court conclusively prove that I was unrepresented at the committal hearing and prove that the Examining Justices’ and Court Clerk Tessa Howell were fully aware that I was unrepresented and yet still committed me to trial contrary to the provisions of section 6(2) Magistrates’ Court Act 1980.
Janice Brennan (appointed for my sentencing), a barrister with over 30 years experience explains that “a failure to comply with the mandatory requirements of section 6(2) Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 renders the proceedings a nullity.” (click here for exhibit)
Stephen Gilchrist (appointed for my sentencing), a solicitor and Chairman and head of Regulatory Law at Saunders LLP, who also has over 30 years experience explained in writing to the Court that "it seems clear to us that the trial should never have taken place, as the Crown Court did not have jurisdiction to try the matter." (click here for exhibit)
No Witness Statements or Exhibits In Case Papers
Richmond Magistrates’ Court Unlawfully Committed Me To Trial
Authorities Brought Charges But Produced No Evidence
Following the change of the search warrant and my arrest details from Copyright to Trade Marks, in order to bring a prosecution against me, the authorities had to produce evidence to demonstrate that I had breached the Trade Marks Act. As such, the authorities spent tax payer's money to bring a frivolous case stating that just 1 CD out of over 4,000 CD's that my company was selling was in breach of the Trade Marks Act. If they could prove this the authorities would then be able to bring another prosecution against me in relation to CD's breaching the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act.
I was charged with a breach of section 92 (1) (c) Trade Marks Act 1994 an offence which is triable "either way" (either in Crown Court or Magistrates Court) and if this prosecution was successful then I would face five summary only offences (minor offences triable only in Magistrates' Court) under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
I was supplied with advance information produced by Richmond Upon Thames Council Assistant Head of Legal Services Mr Chris Warner, however, there was no evidence supplied for the Trade Marks Act charge as the entire evidence in the advance information referred to Copyright offences.