CPS v Mattu

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLord Justice Pill
Judgment Date17 July 2009
Neutral Citation[2009] EWCA Crim 1483
Docket NumberCase No: 200806131 D5
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Date17 July 2009

[2009] EWCA Crim 1483

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

COURT OF APPEAL (CRIMINAL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM LEWES CROWN COURT

HH JUDGE WADDICOR

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Before:

Lord Justice Pill

Mr Justice Burnett and

His Honour Judge Hall

Case No: 200806131 D5

T20071002

Between
Cps (sussex)
Appellant
and
Harvinder Singh Mattu
Respondent

Mr M Khamisa QC and Miss F Davy (instructed by ABV Solicitors) for the Appellant

Mr D Groome and Mr A Alibhai (instructed by Brighton Trials Unit CPS ) for the Respondent

Hearing dates : 23 June 2009

Lord Justice Pill

Lord Justice Pill :

1

This is an appeal by the prosecution, brought with leave of the trial judge, against a decision of Her Honour Judge Waddicor, at Lewes Crown Court on 3 November 2008, to stay counts 1 and 2 as an abuse of process, of an indictment against Harvinder Singh Mattu (“the respondent”). The appeal is brought under Section 58 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”).

2

Section 67 of the 2003 Act provides:

“Reversal of rulings

The Court of Appeal may not reverse a ruling on an appeal under this Part unless it is satisfied—

(a) that the ruling was wrong in law,

(b) that the ruling involved an error of law or principle, or

(c) that the ruling was a ruling that it was not reasonable for the judge to have made.”

3

The respondent appeared at Lewes Crown Court on an indictment charging, in count 1, money laundering contrary to section 328(1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“the 2002 Act”), and in count 2, jointly with his partner CB, money laundering contrary to section 327(1) of the 2002 Act. Very substantial sums of money are alleged to be involved.

4

On counts, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 (with CB on counts 3, 5 and 6) the respondent is charged with obtaining a money transfer by deception contrary to section 15A of the Theft Act 1968. An application to quash counts 3 to 8 of the indictment as an abuse of process failed. The money laundering charges were based on laundering the proceeds of alleged drug trafficking. Count 2 did also refer to mortgage fraud but no application was made before the judge to sever the count so as to preserve that part of it.

5

The trial at Lewes was the third of a series of trials involving the respondent. With others, he was arrested on 19 September 2005 for conspiracy to supply a class A drug (cocaine) in an Asda supermarket car park in Crawley. There was a seizure of drugs on that day. The respondent and others were tried at Lewes Crown Court (“Lewes 1”) and on 19 September 2006 and all were acquitted.

6

Nine days later, on 28 September 2006, the respondent was arrested for suspected money laundering and that led to the charges now under consideration. On 4 September 2007, he was arrested and later charged with conspiring to supply a class A drug (cocaine). The respondent was also charged, with others, with associated matters of money laundering. The case was listed at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 16 April 2008 and the respondent pleaded guilty on 29 April to a single count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) on an agreed basis of plea. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment, a sentence of course still being served.

7

Attempts to transfer the Lewes indictment and to resolve all outstanding matters involving the respondent were unsuccessful. Charges of money laundering against other defendants were left on the file at Wolverhampton. It was the prosecution decision to proceed with the money laundering charges at Lewes, notwithstanding the agreed basis of plea at Wolverhampton, that led to the application to quash counts 1 and 2 as an abuse of process.

8

While also dealing with other matters, the judge in her ruling cited the respondent's argument that the prosecution “are also trying to point to a greater degree of culpability on the part of this defendant in respect of the matter to which he pleaded guilty in Wolverhampton earlier this year”. Having referred also to the submissions of the prosecution, the judge concluded:

“It would be, on the balance of probabilities, unfair for this defendant to be tried in respect of any matters upon which reliance will be placed on what I might call the 'Wolverhampton matters', that is, the drug conspiracy matters that were before the Wolverhampton Crown Court.”

The judge added:

“I consider that on the balance of probabilities it would be unfair to the defendant, both for reasons of disparity and inconsistency, and, in my judgment, the shifting approach from the prosecution, to proceed with [counts 1 and 2].”

9

It was also submitted on the respondent's behalf that the prosecution, in pique at the acquittals in Lewes 1, were attempting to use evidence which had been available to them at the time of that trial to have another go, as the judge put it, at the respondent. Confiscation proceedings were in any event available to the prosecution following the plea at Wolverhampton. It is accepted that the plea there was tendered on the clear understanding that it would not prejudice the prosecution's position in the contemplated confiscation proceedings.

10

As recorded by the judge, an attempt was made, in which Mr Dean QC, prosecuting counsel at Wolverhampton, was involved, to obtain the transfer there of the Lewes matters. Officers from Sussex were present at the trial at Wolverhampton but, we are told, only to consider evidence and not to coordinate policy with the prosecutors there. The basis of plea at Wolverhampton was comprehensive and carefully drafted and the prosecution were involved in agreeing its terms for submission to the court. Moreover, it was put to the judge to seek a Goodyear indication, thereby “hallowing the deal” as it was put by Judge Hall in the course of argument. The judge considered it a suitable basis for sentence and proceeded to sentence.

11

By letter of 3 July 2008, solicitors for the respondent submitted to the prosecution that the decision to proceed with the third trial at Lewes should be reconsidered. In the letter, points were made which have also...

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