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Privilege and today's judgment - Chaytor & Ors, R v [2010] EWCA Crim 1910

I link to today's judgment impressively quickly uploaded onto Bailii.

This relates to the question as to whether expenses fraud is covered by parliamentary privilege (readers of this weblog will know that I believe that it is not).

The judgment is worth reading for those interested in the law of parliament.

There are some interesting precedents that I have not heard of before such as Att-Gen of Ceylon v de Livera [1963] AC 13, which is referred to in paragraph 33.

It is interesting that one of the cases referred to involves Scientology in that there has been a more recent case of constraints on the freedom of speech of a councillor who critised scientology.

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Statement by John Hemming
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It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

I have only just found this one which I think is accurately reported below (but if it is not please give me an accurate report).

KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

LORD HEWART CJ:
It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when that gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the…

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