I watched this video about a dare devil climbing to the top of The Shard in London, before being cautioned by the police. The Shard later took out a private prosecution against him.

I am confused though. Why was it a private prosecution, yet in the video he says it was a civil case, which resulted in him getting sentenced to six months, yet he never received a criminal record for his actions. I thought it was impossible to go to prison for a civil offence, and much less end up in a criminal court! I guess there is some trick that is only possible with private prosecutions?

I was also under the impression that there was not a Law against what he did, especially as it was a simple trespass, he left without a struggle when the police came to avoid a breech of the peace etc... Especially when other YouTubers, such as Ally Law, frequently do similar actions and never get arrested.

Lastly, how can one be given a caution and then punished again through a private prosecution, outside of a Civil court? Surely there is a Double Jeopardy protection against this?

I thought I had a grip on the basics of Law before this video came to my attention!

  • Peaceful pantaloons, eh?
    – IconDaemon
    Apr 22, 2023 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


He was jailed for breaching an injunction imposed on the Shard in 2018 which was intended to prevent anyone from climbing it, according to a news report from the Guardian at the time. The actual offence he committed was contempt of court which is a criminal offence.

Double jeopardy does not apply here because the crime he was cautioned for was not the same crime he was prosecuted for.

It appears there was no precedent set, prior to this private prosecution, about whether or not someone could be jailed for breaching an injunction in this manner, as opposed to merely being fined, etc. Obviously, since he has been jailed, people in the future will be reluctant to copy his behaviour and a deterrent has been set.

  • 1
    Transcript: bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2019/2962.html
    – richardb
    Dec 8, 2020 at 11:21
  • So which crime was he cautioned for? If by default one can climb buildings, how could one reasonable know about an injunction? In the future if one does breach an injunction will they go to jail but not get a criminal record, since under common Law we copy prior precedent set by judges? Lastly, why did he say it was a Civil offence when he has clearly committed a criminal offence by contempt of court? Dec 8, 2020 at 11:31
  • @richardb I thought one had to pay for transcripts, it is what put me off of reading before? Dec 8, 2020 at 13:32
  • 2
    @richardb that’s not a transcript- it’s a judgement. The transcript is the record of everything said (and done) in the hearing- the judgement is the decision of the court.
    – Dale M
    Dec 8, 2020 at 19:02
  • @DaleM So if one day I am arrested, for example for stealing a bike, could I use judgements of past cases where somebody was let off with a fine instead of prison? Dec 9, 2020 at 10:51

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