Almost 350 People Wrongly Charged or Convicted Under Coronavirus Laws
Nearly 350 people have been wrongly charged or convicted under British coronavirus laws since they were brought into force in March 2020.
Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that the cases of 115 people prosecuted under the Health Protection Regulations and all of the 218 people prosecuted under the Coronavirus Act were not handled correctly.
In May, the CPS ordered a review of all charges, convictions, and sentences made related to pandemic restrictions. The CPS findings showed that a high proportion of convictions were wrongly brought — 28 per cent in the first review and 18 per cent in the second.
And now, after Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown in England on Monday night, the number of police interventions related to alleged coronavirus breaches will likely increase.
Leaving home without a “reasonable excuse” is now illegal until the end of lockdown, with Michael Gove saying that might not be until March.
“You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice),” the government’s guidance says, with fines starting at £200 for the first offence, then doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £6,400.