Boris Johnson ignores prosecutors’ request to reply within 28 days. Case will now go to court prior to January 28th 2019. (press release)

The team: Private Prosecutor Marcus J Ball, Lewis Power QC, Giles Bright, Francis Fenegan, Anthony Eskander, Colin Witcher.

On November 16th 2018 Boris Johnson MP was given 28 days to reply to a team of prosecutors who have built a private criminal case against him. As of end of day 14th of December this limit has now expired. The case will now be taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court prior to January 28th 2019.

The crowdfunded private prosecution team accuse Mr Johnson of repeatedly lying to the public concerning how much money the UK ‘spends’ on EU membership each month and year. They are prosecuting him for the alleged offence of misconduct in public office by way of abuse of public trust. This is an alleged criminal offence contrary to the common law with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Marcus J Ball being interview by James O’Brien on LBC (click to listen). Mr O'Brien commented that he wondered why law against lying in politics wasn’t ‘enshrined in our constitution or enforced into the Magna Carta’.

Private Prosecutor Marcus J Ball stated that ‘Mr Johnson repeatedly claimed that we send £350 million a week to the EU. We feel that we have highly persuasive evidence that he is aware that we do not. Our legal representatives courteously provided Mr Johnson with the opportunity to comment prior to advancing our case to court. We essentially gave him the chance to provide us with information that would cause us to reconsider advancing our action. He chose not to reply, as is his right. He was not legally required to reply’.

Mr Ball also said that ‘It is vital that any public comments made on this case are careful to respect the court process. Mr Johnson is innocent unless proven guilty by the courts. There must not be comments publicly made by journalists or members of the public commenting upon supposed innocence or guilt, as only a court can decide this. It is also important not to insult Mr Johnson or others involved as this is a sensitive legal matter and not a political one. The courts do not have the power to stop Brexit in response to our action. This is about stopping lying in politics, not stopping Brexit’.

Lewis Power QC

Lewis Power QC, leading the barristers in court, said that ‘…it is not for us as lawyers to determine the guilt or innocence of Mr Johnson as that is
ultimately for a court of law. We, as the lawyers, are bound by our professional ethics and we are advising in this matter on an impartial and reasoned basis, unaffected by political pressure or our own personal views as to Brexit’.

‘…The 2016 Referendum has undoubtedly been the biggest democratic exercise in the history of the UK. The real issue is whether those who are in a position, by virtue of their office, to wield influence over the electorate and who have not complied with expected standards of honesty and integrity, thereby abusing the trust bestowed in them by the public, can be held criminally accountable.

It will be noted that a private prosecution is a criminal prosecution commenced by a person or organisation rather than a public prosecuting authority. It is commenced in the same way as a public prosecution by laying a charge sheet referred to as an “information” in a Magistrates Court. Once
the information has been laid, the Court will carry out necessary legal checks such as

A) Whether the ingredients of an offence known to law are prima facie present

B) Whether the court has jurisdiction

C) Whether in all the circumstances, the allegations are vexatious

We are confident that this prosecution has been conducted with integrity and will satisfy the legal checks entailed. Accordingly if the matter is in the correct form the Court will issue a summons for that party to attend Court on a future date’.

Marcus J Ball is on twitter

Backers are welcome to join approximately 8000 people who have crowdfunded the case over the last two and a half years.