R v Poskitt Reading magistrates court June 2018

H&H made a successful claim for judicial review against Reading Magistrates’ Court, in a decision that clarifies the scope of what is often deemed as the magistrates’ “slip rule” (section 142 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980). In a summary trial, the District Judge purported to use section 142 to reverse the decision of a different bench to admit non-defendant bad character evidence. H&H instructed Rupert Wheeler of 23 Essex Street to argue in High Court proceedings that the DJ’s decision was unlawful and irrational in the circumstances. 

Hennessy and Hammudi successful in overturning pre-trial ruling in the High Court

In granting the claim for judicial review, the High Court found that section 142 could not be used prior to the defendant being convicted, and that the DJ’s decision was irrational.

It is incredibly rare for the High Court to interfere with a pre-trial ruling in the Magistrates’ Court. This case was held to be an exception to the general rule that relief is not available before a trial concludes. 

The case, R (Poskitt) v Reading Magistrates’ Court [2018] EHWC 984 (Admin); [2018] 2 Cr. App. R. 17, has also been reported in the Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, Criminal Law Review ([2018] Crim. L.R. 761) and Archbold Review (Arch. Rev. 2018, 5, 2).