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Judge wrong to dismiss case against alleged unlicensed security boss Published Date: 29/04/2024

In a case widely reported, the Court of Appeal ruled that legal errors were made in reaching the conclusion that Mr Bryson had no case to answer on allegations of making a false statement during an investigation into door staff operating in the north Down area.

Lord Justice Treacy said the judge’s decision was “unsound as a matter of principle and based on an acceptance of an incorrect legal analysis”.

He ordered the case to be sent back to the Magistrates’ Court for rehearing before a different district judge.  It is reported that Mr Bryson has been locked in a legal battle with the SIA for the last six years.

In 2018 the SIA issued a private summons against him over claims of providing false information to the authority.

As part of the probe an SIA investigator wrote to Mr Bryson requesting information about the company.  In his reply, Mr Bryson stated that JJ Security Services Ltd has never traded, and he does not hold any relevant information.

Denying any wrongdoing, he argued that the SIA’s powers did not extend to Northern Ireland.  As reported, central to his defence was a further contention that the chair of the body had no right under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to delegate authority to investigators who examined his alleged activities.

In August last year Mr Bryson succeeded in having the summons dismissed at a preliminary stage focused on legal issues.

A district judge granted his application for a direction that he had no case to answer, based on doubts about the validity of the process.

As the SIA mounted a challenge to her determination, the Court of Appeal was asked to rule on the conclusions she reached.

Lord Justice Treacy, sitting with Lord Justice Horner, held that the District Judge had “erred in law” in her legal assessment becuase the chair did have authority to delegate the power on behalf of the authority" he said.

Lord Justice Treacy further confirmed: “We agree that the District Judge was incorrect to conclude that there was a doubt as to whether the delegation had effect in Northern Ireland.”