Another FLAC client acquitted

Following evidence given by FLAC Principal Julian Forbes-Laird in the Guildford Crown, our client Francisco Gregori was acquitted of two counts of destroying protected trees. Informations were laid by Reigate and Banstead District Council based, so it became clear, solely on a) Mr Gregori owning the trees and b) alleged ‘benefit’ to Mr Gregori from their removal.

Material facts included:

– Previous exceptionally good character of the Defendant
– Very substantial consequences of a guilty verdict (well beyond the likely judicial sanction)
– No proper criminal investigation, resulting in a chronic lack of actual evidence
– Botched lab testing of wood samples
– No indication that the trees were resented and, relatedly, no established motive

Speaking after the swiftly-returned not guilty verdict, JFL said:

“This prosecution was a ridiculous waste of public money and put a terrible strain on the Defendant without any proper evidential basis. If this is the way that local authorities use, or rather abuse, their prosecutor power, there is a very strong case for a change in the law to require CPS review of proposed prosecutions prior to charges being laid. I will shortly be writing to the Lord Chancellor to make this point.”