Ansons’ head of regulatory law David Anderton has successfully defended a tree surgeon who was prosecuted by a council for four offences of cutting down trees protected by a tree preservation order.
His defence was that although the trees had not been formally removed from the tree preservation order, he had met with a council official on the site. They had discussed the fact that the trees were not worthy of retention and had sprayed the trees with paint to mark that they were to be felled.
The prosecution which had been brought by the council was stopped for abuse of process, on the basis that the council official had contributed to the offence occurring.
It is unacceptable that the state through its agents should lure its citizens into committing acts forbidden by the law and then seek to prosecute them for doing so. This principle was established in the case of R V Looseley  1Cr App R 29 where it was held that it may be abuse to continue with a prosecution where an investigator has contributed to the commission of an offence.
David Anderton specialises in a wide range of regulatory and environmental law and can be contacted at Ansons Solicitors, Lichfield on 01543 263456