Stannard v The Crown Prosecution Service [2019] EWHC 84 (Admin)

An appeal by way of a case stated in which the appellant sought to challenge a conviction for breach of a Community Protection Notice. He submitted at trial that there was no case for him to answer on the alleged breach as the CPN included requirements that were unreasonably wide. The argument was that the CPN was unlawfully imposed as the requirements were neither necessary proportionate to address the risk posed. The District Judge rejected the submission saying that it was not for her to consider the validity and any argument related to that should be raised by way of appeal against the CPN.

The central issue, therefore, was in the case of a prosecution for breach of a CPN was it open to the defence to argue that the CPN was and is invalid.

Held: it is clearly the intention of legislation that a challenge to the validity of a CPN should not be a defence to a charge of breach. A CPN is specific to an individual and the person must be told that he can appeal against it. The mainstay of the appellant’s case is that the appeal window is closed and cannot be challenged other than at trial. This is not the case, “leaving aside the possibility of judicially reviewing the decision to issue a CPN, …, there is a power for an authorised person to revoke or vary a CPN, as well as issue one.” Written representations can be sent seeking consideration of revocation or variation of the notice. The District Judge was right to conclude the CPN was binding on and enforceable against the appellant unless and until it was varied or discharged. She was correct to conclude that the charge had been made out. The appeal is dismissed.

As a postscript the court added the desirability for any CPN to be limited in time, with the term clearly stated, and for authorised persons, prior to issue, to carefully consider the prohibitions and restrictions to ensure they go no further than is necessary and proportionate to address the behaviour leading to the CPN.