The criminal courts of England and Wales are presently hearing circa 100 covid-related cases per month. The media is starting to ask whether such prosecutions, said to be a “psychological exercise to encourage compliance” by the Health Minister at the time, are oppressive and saddling younger people with unconscionable debt. The focus is on the enforcement of travel regulations during the pandemic, and the legal implications for individuals.
In this exploration of a set of COVID-related legal proceedings, Benjamin Ramsey delves into a specific case in England.
In this case, following representations made by Benjamin Ramsey, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued proceedings against a recent lay client.
The Defendant was alleged to have breached paragraph 3 of Schedule B1A of the Coronavirus: Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020, which was an offence by way of Regulation 6. The now-repealed legislation required individuals who had ‘departed or transited’ through a red-list country, to enter England and Wales by way of designated ports, which were listed in the Regulations. It appears that there are several covid-related legal proceedings underway in this jurisdiction, at present.
On 12th May 2021, the Defendant entered England via Terminal One at Manchester Airport. He had initially travelled to Uganda from England to visit see his gravely ill mother, a trip funded by the Local Authority due to the Defendant’s limited means. On his return trip, the Defendant landed and spend over 13 hours in Nairobi, Kenya in order to change planes before a final stop in Amsterdam before completing the journey to Manchester.
At the relevant time, Kenya was a red-list country and therefore, the defendant was required to enter the country via a designated port. Manchester was not, at the relevant time, a designated port. Therefore, following his arrival in Manchester, the Defendant was stopped by a Border Force Officer and interviewed.
On the 18th May 2022, the Defendant was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice was issued to the Defendant in the sum of £10,000. The Defendant could not afford to pay the fine and therefore, proceedings were instigated.
Benjamin Ramsey drafted a skeleton argument alleging that the proceedings amounted to an abuse of process due to the delay and that, despite the stop in Kenya being over 13 hours before the Defendant’s connecting flight took off, the Defendant had not ‘departed or transited’ through Kenya for the purpose of the Regulations.
Following service of the compelling skeleton argument, the Crown discontinued the case.
Benjamin Ramsey was instructed by Nicola Hall of Robert Lizar Solicitors.
To instruct Benjamin Ramsey in covid-related legal proceedings or other matters, please contact his clerks by telephone or email.