A new frontier in the boundary between professional and private life – solicitors’ undertakings
Martin Porter, the 'cycling barrister' recently brought a private prosecution against Mr Kayardi for dangerous driving. It was claimed that in February 2015 Mr Kayardi sped past cyclist Mr Porter QC, at 50mph in a 30mph zone whilst driving his Audi sports car.
The matter was referred to the police but a decision was taken not to prosecute so Mr Porter brought a private prosecution against Mr Kayardi. The evidence presented to the court included an expert witness who testified the speed Mr Kayardi was driving as well as footage recorded on the cyclist's handlebars on a small video camera. The footage showed Mr Porter being blown to the kerb as Mr Kayardi passed within an 'arm’s length' of him and his heart rate monitor showed his heart rate suddenly shot up.
Mr Kayardi, a former driving instructor, was acquitted earlier this week at Isleworth Crown Court. The jury acquitted Mr Kayardi after he gave evidence stating Mr Porter was in the centre of the lane holding up traffic and that he overtook when it was safe to do so.
Despite the prosecution failing, the judge ordered that Mr Porter be awarded his costs from central funds, the sum asked for being in the region of £25,000. Under section 17 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 the court can order payment out of central funds ‘of such amount as the court considers reasonably sufficient to compensate the prosecutor for any expenses properly incurred by him in the proceedings.’ It is interesting to note that had this been a civil case it is likely that Mr Porter would have had to pay the costs of Mr Kayardi as well as his own, surely making private prosecution the more attractive option.
It is also interesting to note that had Mr Kayardi been the unsuccessful party and been convicted, he would have been likely to have had to pay something towards the costs of the prosecution. It is questionable whether this imbalanced approach can and will continue.
Private prosecutions are becoming increasingly popular and in an environment, at least for the time being, where costs are being awarded even where the prosecution fails, they are an attractive option for seeking justice.
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