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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> AB & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police & Anor  EWHC 3385 (Admin) (20 December 2011)
Cite as:  EWHC 3385 (Admin)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE McCOMBE
| THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF
|- and -
|(1) CHIEF CONSTABLE OF WILTSHIRE POLICE
(2) SOUTH EAST WILTSHIRE MAGISTRATES' COURT
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Mr John Beggs QC and Mr James Berry (instructed by Force Solicitor Wiltshire Police) for the Defendants
Hearing dates: 4th November 2011
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE OUSELEY:
"The grounds on which the application is made: intelligence states that AM and AB are actively engaged in the supply of large amounts of cocaine which are kept at the Chelworth trading estate site and that he and his father AB own and run a large number of business enterprises from that location.
European convention of Human Rights
The Warrant has been sought under legislation that is prescribed in Law. Its purpose is to gather or recover evidence in relation to a crime or criminal offence. Entry to the premises is the only means available to fulfil police obligations to investigate crime. The means employed will be proportionate to the circumstances and only to the extent, which is absolutely necessary to meet the legitimate aim."
"They paint a picture of general criminal activity across a range of differing areas of that include drugs, firearms, money laundering, stolen plant and machinery, counterfeit mot's and vehicle excise licences', illegal immigration, counterfeit clothing, vat evasions, counterfeit clothing and the theft of motor vehicles.
In particular intelligence states that AM is actively engaged in the supply of large amounts of cocaine which are kept at the Chelworth site, and that he and his father B run the As yard on the Chelworth trading estate."
The legal framework
"It is not, and cannot be, the law that reasonable suspicion may not be based solely upon information derived from an informant and the learned judge did not suggest the contrary. That said, any police officer should treat such information with very considerable reserve and should hesitate before regarding it, without more, as a basis for reasonable suspicion."
"13….The obtaining of a search warrant is never to be treated as a formality. It authorises the invasion of a person's home. All the material necessary to justify the grant of a warrant should be contained in the information provided on the form. If the magistrate, or the judge in the case of an application under section 9, does require any further information in order to satisfy himself that the warrant is justified, a note should be made of the additional information so that there is a proper record of the full basis upon which the warrant has been granted.
16….As I have already said, it is wholly unsatisfactory, where the validity of such a warrant is in issue, to be asked to rely on anything other than the application itself, and if necessary, a proper note or record of any further information given orally to the magistrate."
"(7)…If the applicant supplements the material already provided, possibly in response to questions from the district judge, that should be noted, and the same applies to the decision of the district judge, which should be briefly reasoned. It seems that sometimes proceedings before the district judge are tape-recorded, and if that can be arranged that is clearly the best form of record, but if that is impracticable the party applying for a warrant must prepare a note which can be submitted to the judge for approval if any issue arises as to the way in which the warrant was obtained
(10) Often it may not be appropriate, even after the warrant has been executed, to disclose to the person affected or his legal representatives all of the material laid before the district judge because to do so might alert others or frustrate the purposes of the overall inquiry, but the person affected has a right to be satisfied as to the legality of the procedure which led to the execution of the warrant, and if he or his representatives do ask to see what was laid before the district judge and to be told about what happened at the hearing, there should, so far as possible, be an accommodating response to that request. "
Mr Justice McCombe