4

My friend is currently a defendant in a criminal case. In my opinion, based on what I know about the case, it's likely the verdict will be 'Not Guilty', and that the evidence is based on faulty testimony. There has been no physical evidence. I'd like to give details, but as an ongoing case, AND due to the nature of the accusations, I won't. Basically, (IMHO) the testimony is based on lies, and the imagination of a young person.

The case has brought tremendous stress, resulting in an impact to their health and financial impact on my friend.

They've been informed that should they be found not-guilty, they can only expect his travel expenses to be reimbursed.

My thoughts are that if they are declared not guilty, then the accusations against them are not true, and thus easily fall foul of Libel laws in the UK, at the very least.

It cannot be right that in a civilised country, a wrongly accused person should be left with only suffering, both in mental and financial hardship terms, from false accusations.

Once they are found not-guilty, what can they do to recover the costs of legally defending themselves, and also to account for the impact to their health?

6

Anyone found not guilty may apply to the judge to have his legal costs paid out of central funds; this is not automatic, but is usual if the court agrees that the charges should not have been brought. The amount payable is set out by regulations depending on where the case was heard; since October 2012 it has been set at legal aid rates, which are unlikely to cover a full defence team. Somebody who did not have a lawyer can charge for the time he himself spent on the case, but this is assessed at a standard rate similar to minimum wage, even if he happens to be an expensive lawyer.

No compensation is payable for health or other problems incident on a criminal case; it is considered a part of the rule of law that charges will be brought against defendants, and that some of them will be found not guilty. It may, of course, be possible to sue the complainant for defamation or even to bring an action for malicious prosecution; a lawyer would have to advise on this, but the mere fact of acquittal is certainly not enough to found an action.

  • 2
    FWIW, this is much more generous than under U.S. law in which no compensation of any kind is payable to an acquitted criminal defendant in the vast majority of cases either by the government or by an accuser. – ohwilleke Oct 25 '17 at 5:38
  • @ohwilleke; Statements in court are of course privileged. But does falsely making public accusations of criminality (including moral turpitude) really go unpunished? Perhaps this would be a good discussion for chat. – Tim Lymington Oct 25 '17 at 8:38
  • @ohwilleke and Tim: Q&A on this here. – feetwet Oct 25 '17 at 17:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.