From Martin Redston (See LINK )
My lawyers have today lodged proceedings in the High Court to seek an urgent judicial review of the Director of Public Prosecution’s inaction over the alleged breaches of the Coronavirus Regulations by Dominic Cummings. One particular concern is the so-called ‘Cummings effect’ or ‘Cummings defence’ which has meant that people who previously were complying with the Regulations have sought not to adhere to them fully.
The grounds filed with the High Court include the following complaints:
There is a lack of an appearance of independence to the decision-making of the DPP which arises from (a) the scheme of subordination of the DPP to the Attorney-General – a politician who has tweeted support for the claimed legality of Cummings’ actions without allowing due process to take place, and
(b) the failure to engage meaningfully with the question over Mr. Cummings’ actions and stance taken. In addition, my lawyers have previously sought disclosure of "all communications that (the DPP or his office) had received from any minister, departmental official, or mandarin or person associated with the Cabinet, Prime Minister, or affiliates or agents or representatives of the same, referring to the question of Mr Cummings in any way”.
The CPS/ DPP did not respond to this request in their reply to my representatives. The question as to the manoeuvres of the government and use of its powers behind the scenes is of obvious concern given the history of this high-profile case.
As a state authority the DPP has failed to comply with the duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure public safety to the greatest extent practicable – he would do so in this case by taking active steps to ensure the maintenance of public confidence in accountability to, and enforcement of, the law that is designed to protect the public from the ongoing threat of Covid-19. In short, he should not wash his hands of the issue but should refer it to the police and thereafter consider the issue himself.
A failure to safeguard citizens from the risk of Covid 19 risks a real breach of Article 2 or 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely degrading or inhumane treatment or the loss of life. It is in any event unreasonable not to inquire into the actions of Mr. Cummings to determine whether or not to prosecute him for potential breaches of coronavirus regulations, or a common law criminal offence of public nuisance – given the potential to infect others by travelling across the country from London to Durham, and relocating to a new area when infected.
The DPP has failed to exercise his discretion to refer the matter to the police on our request. Consequently there has been a failure to engage with the need for public confidence to be restored: the law applies to everyone. Public compliance with the regulations is vitally important: they were put in place to protect the public from a virus pandemic. A failure to act soon means that evidence relevant to the investigation into Mr. Cummings’ actions may well be lost.
My action seeks the restoration of public confidence in the office of the DPP as an independent body uninfluenced by and not capable of influence by No.10 and politicians including the Attorney-General. The rule of law applies to all and due process should be followed before any decision is made as to the lawfulness or otherwise of any person’s actions, no matter how close to the centre of power that person sits.
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