Marcus J Ball has crowdfunded over half a million pounds for the prosecution case against Boris Johnson MP (Image Press Association).
The legal team instructed by Marcus J Ball and Brexit Justice Ltd in their private prosecution case against Boris Johnson has filed an application with the Divisional Court for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The application challenges the decision of the Divisional Court on 3 July 2019, to quash the decision of District Judge Coleman of Westminster Magistrates’ Court of 29 May 2019 to issue a summons against Mr Johnson MP for the criminal offences of misconduct in public office.
The effect of the Divisional Court ruling is that a public office holder, namely an MP and Mayor of London, who repeatedly lied about Government spending figures and misused official statistics, on a platform secured by relying upon his public office, and who referenced his public office at the material time does not commit the offence of misconduct in public office. That is so even where it was a duty of his public office to scrutinise and safeguard public expenditure and to act with honesty and integrity.
Mr Ball pursues his appeal because, he asserts that the Divisional Court has erred in its rulings as to elements of the offence of misconduct in public office — ‘acting as such’ and ‘wilful neglect/wilful misconduct’, and which raise clear points of law of general public importance.
Private prosecutor, Marcus J Ball, said that ‘The High Court’s decision is far reaching. It should be of great concern and interest to the public as a whole. As opposed to ensuring that public officers are held to account, the Court’s decision restricts the offence of misconduct in public office, placing the behaviour of those with power, influence and responsibility, beyond proper scrutiny and the criminal law. We have grave concerns that public officers can now abuse their status and influence and to act in blatant disregard of the duties and obligations placed upon them, safe in the knowledge that no criminal consequences will follow.
This case extends far beyond Mr Johnson. This decision affects all public office holders, for example judges, immigration officials, army officers, and the police. This case affects the public at large. As such, in light of the High Court’s decision, we believe that we have a duty to the public to ensure that the proper limits of the offence are defined.
The High Court’s decision is also considered contrary to other commonwealth Countries and leading academic commentators. The High Court however had the unenviable task of considering the issues over a matter of days, in sharp contrast to the District Judge who had three months. We are asking that due to the public importance of holding those with power and influence to account, that the Supreme Court has an opportunity to properly consider this matter and to clearly define the offence.’
The original prosecution was brought in February based upon Mr Johnson’s claim that ‘We send the EU £350 million a week’ which was named as being a ‘clear misuse of official statistics’ by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority. It is alleged that Mr Johnson knew that the claim was false and the effect of the same was to deliberately invent more than £3 billion of public spending a year in the process. This was not a campaign statement, a manifesto promise, or rhetoric at a hustings. “We send the EU £350 million a week” is stated as a fact and it is a lie. Mr Ball stresses that the case does not concern the NHS or what good could be made of any savings from leaving the EU.
Marcus J Ball with crowdfund backers
Private prosecutor Marcus J Ball has so far raised over £570,000 during the period of 3 years of his pursuing the case from more than 14,000 people using Cornwall based crowdfunding website Crowdfunder.co.uk. The average contribution is £29 and backers are supporting the case in an attempt to prove that it is illegal for an elected public office holder to lie to the public about public spending figures.
Mr Ball said that ‘After Iraq, tuition fees and the referendum our backers have just lost it. MPs must not be permitted to knowingly and repeatedly lie to the public on television and neither can any other public office holder. It is a matter of immense public importance that we ask the Supreme Court to remedy this situation’.
Regardless of the outcome, it is not legally possible for the case to stop Brexit and that is not the intended aim of those involved. Marcus J Ball, now 29, started the case in 2016 at the age of 26 and has worked at below minimum wage per hour in his efforts to investigate politicians for possible misconduct during the EU Referendum.
In addition, Mr Ball has taken on considerable personal debt to ensure that the case continues. Those who wish to support Mr Ball are asked to find out more about the case and crowdfund it here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ballvjohnson
His case investigated the conduct of Mayor Sadiq Khan, Nigel Farage, David Cameron’s Government and other political figures. Mr Johnson is being pursued due to the evidence available against him. Mr Ball had no knowledge when he started the prosecution in February 2019 that Mr Johnson would become Prime Minister. Mr Ball made it clear that this did not concern him ‘This thankfully is the United Kingdom. Everyone is equal under the law’.
Mr Ball’s legal team includes Jason Coppel QC, Lewis Power QC and junior barristers Anthony Eskander and Colin Witcher. Marcus is represented by Giles Bright and Francis Fenegan of Bankside Commercial Solicitors.