Modern slavery trial stayed as an abuse of process

Ryan Dowding acted alone for a 17-year-old facing trial on two counts of having required other children to engage in forced or compulsory labour contrary to section 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and PWITS Class A and B. He was said to be jointly responsible for running a County Line between London and the East Midlands.

The trial commenced at Leicester Crown Court on 5th September 2022. However, after 3 days of legal argument, HHJ Raynor stayed the proceedings as a ‘Category 2’ abuse of process. The Judge found there had been a “striking” lack of candour by the police in their dealings with the Single Competent Authority, concluding that there was “no rational basis whatsoever for the prosecution to have continued with this case”. He added that the police and CPS “must learn lessons from this case”.

The Crown did not appeal the ruling.

Related news:

Hugh Davies QC and Ryan Dowding recently co-authored guidance for the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre (NCLCC) on the use of civil orders in a modern slavery context, including when the use of preventative powers may be more appropriate than prosecuting a suspect who is under 18.

That guidance can be found here.

8th September 2022

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