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Divisional Court quashes decision not to prosecute former diplomats in relation to allegations connected to human trafficking

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A Divisional Court has quashed the DPP’s decision not to prosecute former diplomats in connection with the allegation that they subjected the Claimant, ‘COL’, to offences connected to human trafficking.

The case concerned the DPP’s consideration of two possible charges: (i) an offence under (now amended) section 4 (1), in particular section 4 (4) (c) (i), of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004 and (ii) an offence under section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

In respect of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 offence, the Court found that the DPP’s approach to the Claimant’s credibility offended Wednesbury principles and was therefore irrational: the “explanations offered simply [did] not justify the conclusions.” In particular, the DPP had erred in its treatment of the Claimant’s Certificate of Sponsorship due to a misconception or misunderstanding as to its nature.

In relation to the Fraud Act 2006, the Court held that the DPP’s decision contained a “clear misdirection of law” in that the DPP considered an employer-employee relationship could not, as a matter of law, fall within the scope of section 4. That Divisional Court instead held that there were clear features of the evidence which would entitle the decision maker to conclude that section 4 of the Fraud Act was engaged. These factors included that COL was tied to her employer through the (now abolished) Tier 5 visa. This visa meant leaving her employment rendered her stay in the United Kingdom unlawful.  

Chris Butter QC and Katy Sheridan, and Ben Douglas-Jones QC from 5 Paper Buildings, acted for L.

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