Abuse of process definition

What does Abuse of process mean?

There is an abuse of process where the prosecutor can be said to have manipulated or misused the rules of procedure or where inordinate delay has prejudiced the defendant to a situation where a fair trial is no longer possible.

In abuse of process applications it is the defence that bear the burden of establishing abuse on the balance of probabilities (Telford Justices, ex parte Badhan [1991] 2 QB 78). Where there has been a delay in proceedings, the question is whether the defendant can show that the delay means a fair trial is no longer possible. The procedure to be followed when making an application to stay proceedings on the grounds of abuse of process is contained the Consolidated Criminal Practice Direction, para IV.36 and suggests the usual time to make this application is at the plea and case management hearing.

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