Summary of DPP v Jones

I have been ask to write an easy from a list of 10 cases and I’ve decided to do this case as I seem to be intrigued by this case as it involved Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and how the case in general developed, something which in my opinion seemed like the case was dragged through all the way to the House Of Lords for a simple protest, from reading a brief incite to this case.

Q1. Give an exact and full reference for the case?

A1. The reference of the case is DPP V Jones (Margaret) [1999]2 AC 240, [1998] 563 [1] 

Q2. Is this a criminal or civil case?

A2. This case was undoubtedly preceded as a criminal case.

Q3. Who are the opposing sides and what are their titles?

A3. DPP stands for Director of Public Prosecution who is the head of the CPS which stands for Crown Prosecution Service. DPP are responsible for prosecutions, legal issues and criminal justice policy.

In this case the DPP are the Respondent. Respondent means the defending party to an application, appeal or petition to the courts [2] .

Jones and another are the Appellants. The appellants are Dr. Jones and Mr. Lloyd but I will be referring to them and Jones and Another as this is the way the case being looked at. Appellant means a person who makes an appeal to a court that has the jurisdiction to hear appeals, such as the Court of appeal [3] .

Q4. Briefly describe the facts of the case.

A4. In this case, DPP v. Jones and another, I will state the facts of the case. Jones and another with a number of people were gathered on a roadside, A344, grass verge adjacent to the perimeter fence of the Stonehenge on the 1 of June 1995 and were part of a peaceful and non obstructive assembly. Earlier on 22 of May the Salisbury District Council made an order of all trespassory assemblies, under section 14A of the Public Order Act 1986, were prohibited for four days and covering an area of four miles radius , from A303 and A344 roads leading /adjoining the Stonehenge, commencing at 2359 on May 28 1995 until 2359 on 1 June 1995.

Since this order was granted the police had the power to remove and prevent any sort of trespassory. At 17.45 on the 1 of June 1995 Inspector Mackie and other officers saw a sizeable group scale the fence and enter it. The officers also saw that group escorted out again without any violence or arrest by Police or Security Officers. There was no evidence to prove that two appellants were there/ involved in this incident. At 18.45 on 1 of June 1995 the Appellants, Jones and other, with 19 other people, constituting a group of more than 20 persons, were on the grass verge between the perimeter fence of Stonehenge and the road, A344. They were then arrested under Public Order Act 14A.

Q5. What are the key issues in the case?

A5.The key issue’s of the case is the DPP want to prosecute Dr Jones and Mr Lloyd under section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. These are the two main issues that have kept on arising:

a) Was the grass verge constituted part of the public highway (constitute as a public place on which all matters of activities go on)

b)If the activities are reasonable and they do not involve public, private nuisance and do not cause obstruction on the highway unreasonable, will that be regarded as trespass or not?

Q6. What stages of the legal process has the case already passed and with what result?

A6. I will now state the legal process and there result of the case DPP v. Dr. Jones and Mr Lloyd starting with the magistrates’ court.

On the 3 of Oct 1995 the appellants (Dr. Jones and Mr Lloyd) were convicted of the offence under section 14B (2) by the Salisbury Justices in Salisbury magistrates.

They (the appellants) appealed against their convictions to Salisbury Crown Court on the 3 and 4 of Jan 1996. Their appeals were heard by His Honour Judge Maclaren Webster Q.C. and two Justices. The outcome was it got quashed.

Then the Director of Public Prosecution appealed their case to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court on the 20, 21 of Oct 1998 which was constituted by McCowan L. J and Collins L. J and the DPP appeal was approved and the case be remitted to Salisbury Crown Court to be reheard by a different constituted bench. They got convicted.

The appellants appealed to the House Of Lords. They “leap forged" missing the Court Of Appeal and going straight to House Of Lords.

On 4 of March 1999 the case finally came to House Of Lords. There were five Lords casting their opinions and judgments on this case they were: Lord Irvine of Lairg L.C, Lord Slynn, Lord Hope, Lord Clyde and Lord Hutton.

The majority of the Lords opinions concluded that Dr. Jones and Mr Lloyd did not restrict the public’s high way nor did they constitute trespass if it was a reasonable user of the highway. So with that being the majority view from the judges the conviction was overturned and quashed.

Q7. Are there other cases referred to and relied on in this case? Pick one and explain why it has been used.

A7. I have chosen Hickman v. Maisey [1900] 1 Q.B 752 as it in my opinion played a big part in the Lords opinion and final decision. This case was mentioned by Collins L.J in the Divisional Court and later bought into the House of Lords.

In the Hickman v Maisey [1900] 1 Q.B 752 Hickman is the plaintiffs or now known as claimant since 1999 it means a person applying relief against another person in any sort of court proceeding.

Maisey is the defendant which means a person who is being taken to court.

The defendant, a racing tout, was walking up and down a short portion of the highway with a note-book and the defendant using the public highway to observe the racehorses being trained on the plaintiffs land.

A.L. Smith L.J concluded if a man was to take a sketch from a highway a reasonable person would not see this as trespass but the defendant’s activities was not an ordinary or a reasonable use of the highway so it concluded to trespass.

This case has some comparison to DDP V Jones as both case were to distinguish if they were trespassing and what is the extant of public right of access. Maisey Actus Reus, in Latin means Criminal Act, and Mens Rea, also in Latin means Criminal Mind, points and concludes that Maisey was there to take information and stats on the Plaintiffs Race horses.

The Lord did not look at this case because of its outcome but a comment which A.L. Smith L.J states,

“If a man, while using a highway for passage, sat down for a time to rest himself by the side of the road, to call that a trespass would be unreasonable. Similarly, to take a case suggested during the argument, if a man took a sketch from the highway, I should say that no reasonable person would treat that as an act of trespass. But I cannot agree with the contention of the defendant’s counsel that the acts which this defendant did, not really for the purpose of using the highway as such, but for the purpose of carrying on his business as a racing tout to the detriment of the plaintiff by watching the trials of racehorses on the plaintiff’s land, were within such an ordinary and reasonable user of the highway as I have mentioned."

Which in my opinion is a persuasive comment and that’s why they used this case.

Q8. a) What is the ratio decidendi of the case?

A8.a) Ratio decidendi mean the legal reason, which is a binding president.

Lord Irvine L.C stated “I conclude therefore the law to be that the public highway is a public place which the public may enjoy for any reasonable purpose, provided the activity in question does not amount to a public or private nuisance and does not obstruct the highway by unreasonably impeding the primary right of the public to pass and repass: within these qualifications there is a public right of peaceful assembly on the highway."

Lord Clyde stated “In my view the argument for the appellants, and indeed the reasoning of the Crown Court, went further than it needed to go in suggesting that any reasonable use of the highway, provided that it was peaceful and not obstructive, was lawful, and so a matter of public right."

Lord Hutton Stated “I consider that the important issue before your Lordships' House is whether that right should be extended that the public has a right in some circumstances to hold a peaceful assembly on the public highway provided that it does not obstruct the use of the highway."

Lord Slynn and Lord hope dissenting, did not come to the same conclusion so the majority won (3:2)

As you can see from the majority of judges, which I have stated, they all came to a fairly similar if not the same legal reasoning (Ratio Decidendi). The majority conclusion agrees with the appellants that we do have a right of peaceful assembly on the highway as long as we do not amount to a public or private nuisance and does not obstruct the highway

Q8.b) Can you find an example of an obiter remark?

A8.b) Obiter dictum means a remark or observation, which is a persuasive president.

Lord Irvine L.C stated “Collins L.J. similarly approved Lord Esher M.R.'s approach, noting, at pp. 757-758, that:

 " . . . in modern times a reasonable extension has been given to the use of the highway as such . . . The right of the public to pass and repass on a highway is subject to all those reasonable extensions which may from time to time be recognised as necessary to its exercise in accordance with the enlarged notions of people in a country becoming more populous and highly civilised, but they must be such as are not inconsistent with the maintenance of the paramount idea that the right of the public is that of passage." "

Lord Clyde stated “That was recognised by Collins L.J. where in Hickman v. Maisey [1900] 1 Q.B. 752, 758 he said:

 "The right of the public to pass and repass on a highway is subject to all those reasonable extensions which may from time to time be recognised as necessary to its exercise in accordance with the enlarged notions of people in a country becoming more populous and highly civilised, but they must be such as are not inconsistent with the maintenance of the paramount idea that the right of the public is that of passage." "

Lord Hutton Stated “Thirdly, there is a recognition in the authorities that it may be appropriate that the public's right to use the highway should be extended, in the words of Collins L.J. in Hickman v. Maisey at p. 758:

 "in accordance with the enlarged notions of people in a country becoming more populous and highly civilised, but they must be such as are not inconsistent with the maintenance of the paramount idea that the right of the public is that of passage."

I now turn to state these reasons more fully."

 

This comment was also in the Lord Hope and Lord Slynn Comments (dissenting) have also stated the same comment. this comment in my opinion was a persuasive comment and that’s why they used this case because of the similar scenario it took place in but the overall comment seem ridged and dated, which need an extension.

Q9. Which judgement do you find most persuasive? Explain why.

A9. I found the judgment in favour of Dr Jones and Mr Lloyd and against the DPP because there was no evidence to suggest that they were there to be a nuisance or deface the Stonehenge but in actual fact it was assumed by Inspector Mackie, this does not mean Inspector Mackie did not have a reasonable intervention as he witnessed a situation which happened an hour before and did what he assumed to be right at the time to prevent such a thing from happening.

Dr Jones and Mr Lloyd did not have any Actus Reus or Mens Rea so in my opinion there was no evidence or evidence leading to that conclusion that they were going to commit a crime, but Salisbury District Council did have an Order in place but the main purpose of that order to prevent a nuisance from occurring in the vicinity of the Stonehenge for four miles and up hold the Public Order Act.

Then there is the matter of public highway where the whole case seemed to have revolved around the DPP’s main focusing point which was the Public Order Act 1986 Section 14 mainly “trespassory assembly". What rights do the public have to a public highway?

The Ratio Decidendi clearly states out what the majority judges legal reasoning is and the answer to what rights we have? that we do have a right of peaceful assembly on the highway as long as we do not amount to a public or private nuisance and does not obstruct the highway.