Private prosecution brought following successful crowdfunding campaign
Prime Minister hopeful Boris Johnson is to be summoned to court to face allegations he lied in the run-up to the Brexit referendum by saying the UK gave the EU £350 million a week.
Sitting at Westminister Magistrates Court, district judge Margot Coleman today ruled that the Conservative leadership candidate can be summoned to face accusations of misconduct in public office. The decision comes after campaigner Marcus Ball launched a private prosecution against Johnson, having successfully crowdfunded over £230,000 to help cover legal costs.
In a written decision (in full below), judge Coleman said:
“The allegations which have been made are unproven accusations and I do not make any findings of fact. Having considered all the relevant factors I am satisfied that this is a proper case to issue the summons as requested for the three offences as drafted. The charges are indictable only.”
Judge Coleman went on to explain that Johnson will be required to attend Westminster Magistrates Court for a preliminary hearing. “The case will then be sent to the Crown Court for trial”, she added. A court date has not yet been announced.
Reacting to the news, barrister Andrew Keogh (tweeting as CrimeLine) explained that there was still a “VERY long way to go”, with a judicial review of the decision to issue a summons the likely next step for Johnson. “Given summer holidays etc, this single stage unlikely to be resolved much before end of this year at the earliest”, Keogh explained.
IF judicial review fails, then case proceeds in crown court (altho' there could be overlap unless a stay imposed) – inevitable application to dismiss. So, this will keep lawyers busy for many many months…
— CrimeLine (@CrimeLineLaw) May 29, 2019
Ball is represented by Bankside Commercial Solicitors and barristers Lewis Power QC, Colin Witcher and Anthony Eskander, while Johnson has reportedly called on the services of QEB Hollis Whiteman’s Adrian Darbishire QC.