Revealed: ALL Coronavirus Act charges were wrongful
Every single prosecution brought using controversial powers introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic has been wrongful, an official review has found.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that all 270 charges under the Coronavirus Act had been withdrawn in court, or overturned after innocent people were convicted in England and Wales.
A spokesperson said that no case of “a potentially infectious person refusing to comply with a lawful instruction” – the test required by the law – had occurred in the year after the act came into force.
The Coronavirus Act was drawn up early in March 2020, at a time when the virus’ threat was mainly perceived to come from abroad, and created powers to stop infectious people arriving in the UK leaving “places suitable for screening and assessment”.
Separate sets of laws, known as the Health Protection Regulations, were later introduced to enforce lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings, the wearing of face masks, quarantine and other measures.
The CPS said its ongoing review also found that 279 charges under the Health Protection Regulations had also been unlawful between March 2020 and March 2021 – 18 per cent of the total.
Overall, 549 incorrect charges were identified out of 1,821 prosecutions using all coronavirus laws, meaning around a third were wrongful.
More charges are going through the courts and the CPS said its review would continue.