Friday, 24 July 2009

When lawfully seized items can't be retained

The 1709 Blog could easily have missed the ruling of Mr Justice Sharp in Scopelight Ltd and others v Chief Constable of Northumbria and the Federation Against Copyright Theft [2009] EWHC 958 (QB) in the Queen's Bench Division (High Court, England and Wales) a couple of months ago, were it not for the fact that I spotted it in the newly-published issue 4/2009 of the European Copyright and Design Reports (Sweet & Maxwell, 6 times a year). In short, this was a ruling that the police had no power to retain property under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.22 against the wishes of the person otherwise entitled to possession of it, once a decision not to prosecute has been taken, in order that a private body (in this case FACT) could consider whether to bring a prosecution, or indeed while that private prosecution was being brought.

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