Cooke v Director of Public Prosecutions, Court of Appeal - Administrative Court, October 20, 2015, [2015] EWHC 3312 (Admin)

Resolution Date:October 20, 2015
Issuing Organization:Administrative Court
Actores:Cooke v Director of Public Prosecutions
 
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CO/1793/2015

Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 3312 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London

WC2A 2LL

Tuesday 20th October 2015

B e f o r e:

LORD JUSTICE BEATSON

and

MR JUSTICE MITTING

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B E T W E E N:

RONALD COOKE

Appellant

- v -

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

Respondent

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Mr Kevin Hill (of Hill Twine Solicitors, Dorset BH1 2EF) appeared on behalf of the Appellant

Mr Duncan Penny QC and Mr James Boyd (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the Respondent

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J U D G M E N TTuesday 20th October 2015

LORD JUSTICE BEATSON: I will ask Mr Justice Mitting to give the first judgment.

MR JUSTICE MITING:

  1. The appellant is a trader who trades under the name Dorset Militaria and British Bobby from premises in Dorset. On 19th September 2013 search warrants were executed by police at his home and at his business premises. A considerable quantity of police caps, helmets, badges and bags were seized. He was charged with eight offences of possession of articles of police uniform, contrary to section 90(3) of the Police Act 1996. He was convicted on 5th August 2014 of all offences by Bournemouth Magistrates' Court. He appealed to the Crown Court which dismissed his appeal on 5th December 2014. He appeals by Case Stated against the decision of the Crown Court.

  2. The facts were not and are not in dispute. The seized items were "articles of police uniform", as defined by section 90(4), "any article of uniform or any distinctive badge or mark ... of identification usually issued to members of police forces ... or anything having the appearance of such an article, badge, mark ..." They were part of the appellant's stock in trade. He bought from a variety of sellers and sold to members of the public, mostly on-line. He carried out no checks on the identity of those who bought from him, or as to their purpose in doing so.

  3. Section 90(3) of the 1996 Act provides:

    "Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence ..."

    The appellant relied on the statutory defence. He accepted that the legal burden of proof lay upon him to establish that he had obtained possession of the articles lawfully and had possession of them for a lawful purpose, and that he had to do so on the balance of probabilities.

  4. The prosecution and the Crown Court either accepted that he had obtained possession of the items lawfully or accepted that he had done so, subject only to the proposition that his subsequent...

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