The Coronavirus Act 2020 was rushed through parliament earlier this year to grant emergency powers to handle the COVID 19 pandemic. The act was implemented to try and control the spread of the disease.
Two provisions of the act allow the government to:
- Restrict or prohibit public gatherings
- Detain a "suspected infectious person" for screening and assessment
What sentence could a person receive if they breached any provisions in the act?
Anyone deemed to be in breach can be issued with a financial penalty. It has been reported that almost 15,000 fines so far have been issued across England and Wales for breaches of the act.
Alternatively a person could face prosecution in a criminal court if other offences have been committed.
Are the police and CPS applying the act correctly?
The Crown Prosecution Service has recently admitted that all prosecutions detaining a ‘suspect infectious person’ were incorrectly charged. A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service stated "Under the act, all 44 charges were incorrect because they did not cover potentially infectious people, which is what the legislation is intended for."
Most of the charges had been withdrawn by prosecutors before a plea had been entered. However, 13 cases resulted in criminal convictions, all of which have been returned to the court to be withdrawn.
What assistance we can offer
Our expert criminal defence solicitors and lawyers have extensive experience of successfully defending clients accused of the full range of criminal offences. Our criminal defence solicitors act for clients throughout England and Wales and we pride ourselves on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. For immediate advice from a member of our specialist team, please call 0161 696 6188 or complete our online enquiry form.