09 April 2020
A lack of certainty creates the risk of injustice to law abiding people
Whilst we all understand the need to respect and comply with the lockdown provisions by staying at home unless we fall within one of the exemptions to justify leaving home, it is also correct that some police forces have been a little over zealous by criminalising perfectly legitimate actions by members of the public which may not fall foul of the legislation. Many have faced fines and court hearings when they have been away from home with a good reason. The legislation was drafted at breakneck speed. We have also heard mixed messages from the Government as to when we may leave home and for how long, some comments being out of step with the legislation itself.
Whilst we should not be looking to find loopholes in the legislation, given what is a stake and the need to stay at home where possible, it is also fair to say that legislation must be clear so the public know what is allowed and what is not allowed. We suspect that in time, there will be many cases on the issue of ‘reasonable excuse’ and clarification will be provided by the courts.
Each case will be fact dependant but if you feel that you have complied with the rules and the police have been over zealous in their interpretation, please contact our criminal law team for advice and guidance.