“Primark breastfeeding row mum charged with perverting the course of justice”. What does it all mean?

Earlier on this week, it was featured in the news that a mother from Leicester is facing a charge of intending to pervert the course of justice, after claiming that a security guard in Primark had assaulted her while removing her breastfeeding baby.

But what exactly is the offence perverting the course of justice?

First of all, perverting the course of justice is an indictable only offence which means that only the Crown Court can deal with the matter; as these are offences that are considered to be so serious that they can only be dealt with by the Crown Court. Like with all criminal proceedings, the case will be brought before the Magistrates’ Court for an initial hearing. However, the Magistrates’ Court will send the case straight to the Crown Court. The offence of perverting the course of justice is considered to be so serious that it can warrant a maximum custodial sentence of life imprisonment.

Perverting the course of justice is a common law offence which means that it has been developed through the Courts over time. The offence is committed if a person does the following:

Acts or embarks upon a course of conduct; which has a tendency to, and, is intended to pervert the course of justice.

Now that probably does not explain an awful lot, so here are some examples which will help to show you the type of conduct that will amount to perverting the course of justice:

  • Making false allegations
  • Deliberately giving a false statement, or false evidence in court
  • Concealing an offence
  • Failing to prosecute
  • Interference with witnesses, evidence and jurors
  • Assisting others to evade arrest

So for example, if you falsely made an allegation that a family member had punched you and you intended that it should be taken seriously by the police, you could be committing of an offence of perverting the course of justice.

Did you know that even accepting speeding penalty points on the behalf of another, amounts to perverting the course of justice? Former energy secretary and Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were each jailed in 2013, after Pryce took speeding points for Huhne.

Should you require any legal assistance in relation to an offence of perverting the course of justice, please feel free to contact a member of our criminal department on 0116 255 4855, who will be more than happy to assist you.