Coronavirus Act

CPS Admits That “All Offences Charged Under the Coronavirus Act Were Incorrectly Charged”

A Freedom of Information request has confirmed that zero prosecutions have been made successfully under the Coronavirus Act. The request asked: “Since its inception – how many prosecutions have been made successfully under Coronavirus Act?” The response, given on Monday by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), reads as follows:

Since the CPS started its review on finalised cases charged under the Coronavirus Act 2020 (the Act) in April 2020 and up until February 2021, we found that all offences charged under the Act were incorrectly charged, and therefore discontinued because there was insufficient evidence to prove the offences under the Act. There were no cases where a suspect was convicted under the Act as of February 2021.

In April, the Independent reported on the “embarrassment” caused to the justice system by incorrect prosecutions made under the Coronavirus Act and the Health Protection Regulations.

Every one of the 232 prosecutions brought under the Coronavirus Act was incorrect, with its misuse described as an “embarrassment” to the justice system. [The figure will, of course, have gotten much higher.]

A further 127 wrongful charges were brought under the Health Protection Regulations, which were created to enforce the first nationwide lockdown in March 2020 and have been changed numerous times for different restrictions.

They represent around 12% of prosecutions under the law, which is more commonly enforced by police using fines…

The Liberty human rights group called for the Government to support people to follow health guidance rather than having a “relentless focus on enforcement”…

[Director Gracie Bradley said:] “It’s… impossible to know how many unlawful fines have already been paid by people too afraid to challenge them – the Government must urgently introduce a right to appeal fines. Frequent and high-profile instances of arbitrary and wrongful enforcement have fanned the flames of mistrust.”

The CPS figures only cover finalised cases in England and Wales, and more prosecutions are currently progressing through the courts.

Reports issued by parliament’s Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights had called for mistakes by police to stop in April, warning of the potential for miscarriages of justice and punishment “without any legal basis”.

MPs said that some police officers appeared to be enforcing Government guidance rather than the law, and that differences between the two were causing confusion among the public and law enforcement…

The vast majority of wrongful prosecutions were brought by police and withdrawn by the CPS before people were convicted, but 56 cases had to be returned to court to be quashed.

They include a woman who was fined £660 for a crime she had not committed, five days after the Coronavirus Act became law last March.

It gives police the power to direct “potentially infectious persons” to a place suitable for screening and assessment, and take them by force if they refuse.

The law makes it a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 to refuse a direction, escape or provide false information.

Isn’t it about time the Act was repealed?

The Independent report is worth reading in full.

The 76 MPs Who Deserve Our Praise

These are the 76 MPs who voted against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act for a further six months this afternoon, plus two tellers.

Conservative

Adam Afriyie (Windsor)

Steve Baker (Wycombe)

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire)

Bob Blackman (Harrow East)

Peter Bone (Wellingborough)

Sir Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)

Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch)

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)

Philip Davies (Shipley)

David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)

Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)

Richard Drax (South Dorset)

Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford)

Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)

Mark Harper (Forest of Dean)

Philip Hollobone (Kettering)

David Jones (Clwyd West)

Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire)

Jonathan Lord (Woking)

Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)

Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet)

Karl McCartney (Lincoln)

Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)

Esther McVey (Tatton)

Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

John Redwood (Wokingham)

Andrew Rosindell (Romford)

Henry Smith (Crawley)

Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West)

Sir Robert Syms (Poole)

Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire)

Sir Charles Walker (Broxbourne)

David Warburton (Somerton and Frome)

William Wragg (Hazel Grove)

Labour

Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Apsana Begum (Poplar and Limehouse)

Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)

Richard Burgon (Leeds East)

Dawn Butler (Brent Central)

Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Ian Lavery (Wansbeck)

Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)

Clive Lewis (Norwich South)

Rebecca Long-Bailey (Salford and Eccles)

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)

Ian Mearns (Gateshead)

Kate Osamor (Edmonton)

Kate Osborne (Jarrow)

Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Streatham)

John Spellar (Warley)

Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton)

Zarah Sultana (Coventry South)

Jon Trickett (Hemsworth)

Derek Twigg (Halton)

Beth Winter (Cynon Valley)

Liberal Democrat

Wendy Chamberlain (North East Fife)

Daisy Cooper (St Albans)

Ed Davey (Kingston and Surbiton)

Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale)

Wera Hobhouse (Bath)

Christine Jardine (Edinburgh West)

Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon)

Sarah Olney (Richmond Park)

Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)

Munira Wilson (Twickenham)

Democratic Unionist Party

Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry)

Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley)

Paul Girvan (South Antrim)

Carla Lockhart (Upper Bann)

Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

Gavin Robinson (Belfast East)

Sammy Wilson (East Antrim)

Green Party

Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion)

Alliance

Stephen Farry (North Down)

Independent

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)

Tellers

Chris Green (Conservative, Bolton West)

Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrat, Orkney and Shetland)

The final toll was 484 votes to 76, giving the Government a majority of 408. The MailOnline has more.

Stop Press: Toby says: “Good to see Layla Moran in the ‘no’ lobby. When I debated her at the Cambridge Union in January she was pro-lockdown. Let’s hope the superior arguments on our side of the debate helped to change her mind.”

76 MPs Rebel Against Renewal of Coronavirus Act

76 MPs rebelled against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act for a further six months in the House of Commons this afternoon, the largest rebellion so far against one of the Government’s Covid measures. The final toll was 484 votes to 76, giving the Government a majority of 408. The victory came in spite of the fact that Matt Hancock refused to rule out renewing the regulations again in the Autumn. MailOnline has more.

Mr Hancock told the restive chamber he “cannot answer” whether the Coronavirus Act will be retired in six months or rolled on, as he opened the debate this afternoon.

“There are parts of this Act that have allowed us to do good things that everybody would like to see like that, and so when we do come to retire this Act, which we must within one year and preferably within six months, we will need to make sure that we can continue to do that sort of thing and make sure that nurses can be enrolled as easily as possible into the NHS,” he said.

“But I cannot answer whether we will be retiring it in six months. My preference would be yes, but given the last year, I think a prediction would be hasty.”

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Watch Mark Harper MP, Chair of the Covid Recovery Group, speak against the Act here.

Here’s the Evidence Lockdowns Do More Harm Than Good

The Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART) is a group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts, including sceptical stars whose pieces have been featured or flagged up in Lockdown Sceptics such as Dr John Lee, Dr Clare Craig, Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Joel Smalley, Prof David Livermore, Prof David Seedhouse, Prof David Paton and Dr Gary Sidley.

The team has now produced its most devastating piece of work to date. The new report, entitled “COVID-19: an overview of the evidence“, was sent to MPs today to encourage them to vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act in the coming week. With over 50 pages of meticulously referenced evidence from specialists in their fields, it shows beyond doubt why the Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been ineffective and disastrous and a new approach is required.

“The data is in,” it declares on the cover. “Lockdowns serve no useful purpose and cause catastrophic societal and economic harms. They must never be repeated in this country.”

Here’s the full contents to whet your appetite:

  • COVID policies and harm to children – Professor Ellen Townsend; Dr Karen Neil
  • COVID-19 vaccination in children – major ethical concerns – Dr Ros Jones
  • Vaccine passports – an ethical minefield – Dr Malcolm Kendrick
  • Asymptomatic spread – who can really spread COVID-19? – Dr John Lee
  • Economic impacts – the true cost of lockdowns – Professor David Paton; Professor Marilyn James
  • Mutant strains and the futility of border closures – Dr Gerry Quinn
  • ‘Zero Covid’ – an impossible dream – Professor David Livermore
  • Masks – do the benefits outweigh the harms? – Dr Gary Sidley
  • Psychological impact of the Government’s communication style and restrictive measures – Dr Damian Wilde
  • Lockdowns – do they work? – Professor Marilyn James
  • Mortality data and COVID-19 – Joel Smalley
  • The ONS Infection Survey: a re-evaluation of the data – Dr Clare Craig; Dr Paul Cuddon
  • Promising treatment options – Dr Ros Jones; Dr Edmund Fordham
  • Care homes – we must do better for the most vulnerable in society – Dr Ali Haggett
  • Ethical considerations of the COVID-19 response – Professor David Seedhouse

Read it here, share it on social media, and why not send it to your MP? The more who do, the more likely they are to peek inside.

Stop Press: The report has been endorsed by Sir Graham Brady MP, who said:

The World Health Organisation said last year that lockdowns should be seen as a last resort because of the massive harms that they do. This report is a helpful review of the evidence showing the devastating consequences of lockdown in terms of missed diagnoses, deferred treatments and the crisis in mental health, especially for children and young people. It makes grim but important reading.