Summary Advice from Queens Counsel – The Case to Prosecute

 

Appetiser (from Professor bob Watt)

Below you will find a link to the Summary Advice from our legal team. We publish it in accordance with our commitment to transparency, without damaging our case. What does it show?

1. The election law fully supports our contention.

2. That an eminent criminal law QC believes that we have a potentially winnable case.

3. We need to raise the money to fully review and investigate the evidence, and to put it into the right form to go to a court to start the prosecution.  This is the purpose of the stretch target.

4. We can only take the final decision to proceed on the basis of legal advice.

What are we doing? 

As donations are made here we are using every penny (after meeting modest charges from CrowdJustice) to review and prepare evidence. At the moment there is one major piece of evidence which was not available in October when we complained to the DPP. We believe that this will be very damaging to our intended defendant(s) and the legal team is reviewing it with forensic care. As more money comes in we will switch our focus to the other evidence projects – obtaining witness statements.

In the meantime, you can help us RIGHT NOW with one more of those. We have evidence that some people who voted leave did so on the basis of false claims by the Campaign – the £350M and the NHS logo for example. Do you know anyone who would be prepared to make a witness statement to that effect and say how they now feel? This is a point of evidence which only strengthens our case – we do not actually need to show that anyone was duped or influenced – but it would be helpful. Newspaper reports – of which we have more than enough – are not sufficient. Please email us any information at info@restoringintegrity.uk

Most importantly though, you can help us through your donations encouraging your friends to donate through word of mouth, Twitter, Facebook etc.  https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/restoring-integrity-to-our-democracy-prepare-and-lay-information/

THANKS again, both for your time and money.

Main Course (from Richard Clayton QC and Collingwood Thompson QC, 7 Bedford Row Chambers) 

PDF: Summary Advice to Restoring Integrity to Democracy

Statement from Professor Watt Regarding Professional Impartiality

 

I have been informed that during the process of seeking funding to procure independent Counsel opinion, certain members of the public have raised questions as to why this case has not also lodged evidence against the Remain campaign – Stronger In.

As (I’m told) something of a recognised person in the field of electoral law, albeit now semi-retired, I would like to clarify the difference between my personal and professional position, and the circumstances of my involvement with this action.

On a personal level, let me first be clear that yes, I do believe – strongly in fact – that the UK would be better off remaining within the European Union.  And yes, that is one of the reasons that I have chosen to invest time into this action.

On a professional and academic level, however, that fact is entirely irrelevant, as I have previously been at pains to clarify.  It has no bearing whatsoever as to whether I would offer assistance to appropriately qualified parties or actions if I can, even (perhaps especially) if those parties share a diametrically opposite political viewpoint from my own, providing that their concern was either upholding or improving our law.

Our law is our law.  It exists for a purpose, in this case to safeguard the quality and integrity of our democratic process.  That’s my overriding concern.  I will go further – if we cannot hold blatantly dishonest political campaigns to account, then in my view our political system is worthless. I have spent a significant proportion of my adult life studying the law, and trying to improve it, and therefore I hope you will understand that any idea that the happenstance of my own political views might in some fashion fetter my assistance in a professional capacity I find somewhat of an anathema.

Now to clarify the circumstances of this particular action..

  • The 2016 EU referendum was – and I agree- pretty much universally considered to have been dreadfully conducted by all of the campaigns.
  • Our concern, however, was whether any misconduct crossed the line into unlawfulness.
  • We looked at many of the common complaints about both Leave and Remain for potential wrongdoing versus the Electoral Law
  • We discounted evidence that didn’t meet our evidential tests, which you can read more about on our FAQ post. There was one Remain leaflet that did provide more cause for consideration, but in our view the arguments simply weren’t strong enough to support a prosecution case.  We also discounted many other claims against the Leave campaigns using the same criteria.
  • Thanks to the CrowdJustice backers, we are now able to seek a fully independent Counsel opinion as to the potential merits of the six grounds we have prepared, before deciding whether to proceed with further action.
  • The fact that we think there may be grounds for prosecution of the Leave campaigns in no way precludes any other party from seeking to bring another case, but similarly we believe they must bear responsibility to any backers of that case to ensure it has chance of success and to spend their money wisely.
  • Indeed, I would be very happy to see successful prosecution of any individual if found to have deliberately set out to mislead voters in an election or referendum.

I would therefore like to clarify my willingness, once again, to offer professional (and unpaid) assistance to any such action, subject to certain conditions which are designed purely to eliminate time-wasting:

  • Parties must have fully read and researched the information made available on this site, and provide assurance that they are prepared to be personally named in an action against ‘Remain Liars’ (as opposed to ‘Leave Liars’)
  • Parties must have prepared fully-evidenced draft grounds pertaining to “Undue Influence”.  This must be supported and submitted to me by at least one person who has a professional legal certification.  Email: remaincase@restoringintegrity.uk
  • I will then reply, suggesting a suitable Counsel who may be prepared to undertake a professional, paid opinion on the merits of your case.
  • On receipt of a letter from your Counsel (you may choose someone else) confirming that they have been instructed, I will send that Counsel our same legal skeleton arguments relating to s115(2)(b), on the express condition that this information be treated as confidential until our own action has been submitted in the courts.

Thanks,

Prof bob Watt.

CrowdJustice Campaign Update – 15th April – FUNDED!

At 3.39pm on Saturday 15th April, just over a week after launching, our CrowdJustice campaign successfully completed the £9,900 fundraising sought to procure a fully independent Counsel opinion on the merits of our case.

We have now formally instructed chambers.  If the Counsel opinion is supportive, then it will confirm we should proceed with further fundraising required to bring a private prosecution action (the DPP having previously decided not to act).

We would like to offer humble thanks to the 351 backers who form the vanguard of this action, which is being brought in the public interest of safeguarding UK democracy.

The Restoring Integrity Team.

CrowdJustice Campaign Update – 14th April

This morning marks one week since we launched our CrowdJustice case, seeking £9,900 to procure the fully independent QC opinion from leading chambers.

Of course it’s not just an “opinion” we are procuring, it is a venerable and learned reading of the law by leading chambers, which will take at least a few weeks.  Because of the public interest, they have offered to do this for a fraction of their normal commercial rates and on a capped fees basis, of no more than £7,500+VAT.  The rest covers a small fee to the CrowdJustice website.

If we didn’t procure it (and be prepared to accept the answer may not be what we want to hear) then it wouldn’t really be independent, and equally it wouldn’t really carry any sway in getting key legal and constitutional law commentators publicly on side.

We have been overwhelmed by the public response.  Without the aid of any press article (this isn’t newsworthy just yet), just through word of mouth and social media, at the time of writing we have attracted over £6,000 in small donations from individuals and a couple of small businesses.

We would like to thank all of the case backers for their generosity, and for supporting this action to fight for the future of UK democracy.

As bob rather succinctly put it yesterday, “if we cannot hold these dishonest people to account, then our political system is worthless”.

Response Received from DPP

** Holding Update 30th March **

Apologies all for the delay.  As is the nature of these things unfortunately, we need to get the detail right.  Please be assured have been working hard to prepare for this update and believe the case is as valid as ever. We intend to provide a detailed post setting out next steps, if we can within the next 24 – 48 hours.

********************

Our group have now received a reply from the DPP and we will be issuing a full update and public response in the week commencing Monday 13 March 2017.

We would like to thank followers for their continued patience.

Message from Prof. bob Watt

 

Since we launched this reference to the DPP for England and Wales, and now the DPP for Northern Ireland and the Lord Advocate in Scotland, we have received many hundreds of emails.  Most of these were welcome and supportive, for which thanks. I have tried to respond to these- many of which made valuable contributions which we will follow up – but inevitably some have slipped through the net.  If you have not received a personal reply please take this note as acknowledgement and thanks.

bob

Prof.  R. A.Watt;  BA, BCL, PhD.