Home Business News QC warns ‘Cummings defence’ could be used in court

QC warns ‘Cummings defence’ could be used in court

27th May 20 10:07 am

On Sunday Dominic Cummings gave his car crash interview with the press after giving a statement over his actions.

Since then there has been a UK-wide backlash over his actions as millions of people who were in similar circumstances stayed at home.

A lawyer has warned that there could now be endless debates in courts across the UK with members of the public using the “cummings defence.”

Raj Chada, head of the criminal defence department and a partner at firm Hodge Jones and Allen, said Cummings defence will not set any formal precedent and will not mean people can automatically appeal against fines or convictions.

However, Chada reiterated concerns of the regulations that are in place as they are “vague” and “subject to challenge.”

He told the PA news agency, “However, it will be used in court endlessly about what ‘reasonable excuse’ constitutes.

“A client will say in court, ‘I had childcare difficulties just like Dominic Cummings‘.

“I think that it means that the police are going to be very cautious about issuing fixed penalty notices (FPNs), that clients are going to contest and that could result in more trials about ‘what is a reasonable excuse.”

Kirsty Brimelow QC, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, said the lockdown laws across the UK require a “degree of co-operation.”

She added, “There also is a social contract where people respect and trust the institutions that had made the law.”

However, she told PA news agency, “The difficulty is when that trust breaks down, people no longer see why they should play their part.

“The justification put forward by Mr Cummings for breaching the Government’s own guidance – of which there is no doubt – undermines trust.”

The QC further claimed that Cummings does “have a case to answer as to whether he broke the law.

“The upholding of his conduct as acting on ‘instinct’ by the Prime Minister and as doing nothing wrong by the Health Secretary Hancock, whose powers brought in the emergency “laws, makes future enforcement by police very difficult and runs the risk that those issued with fixed penalty notices may refuse to pay on the basis that they too were acting on instinct.

“This would not be a legal defence, but it is difficult for people to understand that it can be used by the Prime Minister to justify the behaviour of Mr Cummings and yet would not apply to them.”

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