By Steve Doughty
Ancient right for anyone to be a prosecutor
Under ancient common law, an individual has a right to bring a criminal to justice in the courts if the state authorities fail to do so.
A private prosecution is brought when members of the public feel let down by the police or the CPS when apparently criminal behaviour is allowed to pass without investigation.
Scotland Yard is showing no inclination to involve its officers at Westminster in pursuit of what looks to the public like blatant instances of fraud.
Fraud carries a maximum sentence of ten years jail and – or – an unlimited fine.
False accounting carries a maximum sentence of seven years.
A private prosecution begins in a magistrates court. It can be brought by anyone who wants to see an act of injustice righted.
They do not need to be the victim. A magistrate is, at the first stage, asked for a summons against the accused to answer the charge.
The court will ask for evidence of the crime. If the prosecution is to proceed, the case will be sent to a Crown Court for a jury trial.
Private prosecutions involve producing a high level of proof to persuade a court that an accused can be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.