A judge will decide next week whether former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson can be prosecuted for misconduct in public office over claims Vote Leave made during the Brexit referendum campaign.
Marcus Ball, who has crowdfunded more than £200,000 for a private prosecution, appeared at Westminster magistrates court on Thursday, 23 May, to present his case.
The court was told Johnson "knew the figure (£350 million) was wrong, but still he chose to repeat it over and over."
Johnson (who is not in court) chose to repeatedly mislead the public and chose to repeat the claims during the 2016 referendum, counsel says.— Ben Quinn (@BenQuinn75) 23 May 2019
The case is not about delaying or preventing Brexit, court hears.
Johnson was not in court on Thursday but his lawyer, Adrian Darbishire QC, said: "It is absolutely denied by Mr Johnson that he acted in an improper or dishonest manner at any time."
Judge will rule on the Boris Johnson private prosecution over Brexit 'lies' next week, in a written ruling to be sent out administratively.— Tristan Kirk (@kirkkorner) 23 May 2019
Johnson said: "There was an error on the side of the bus. We grossly underestimated the sum over which we would be able to take back control."
He claimed the UK's gross weekly contribution to the EU would rise to £438 million by 2021 and said Brexit would allow the government to "take back control" of this money and spend it on the NHS.
Mr Ball's BrexitJusticeProsecution crowdfunder has raised £227,423 from more than 6,000 supporters.
Marcus Ball has crowdfunded £200,000 for the prosecution & denies it is a political stunt. "An MP and Mayor must at all times in the discharge of the roles act in an honest fashion", court told. "He knew the figure (£350m) was wrong, still he chose to repeat it over & over."— Tristan Kirk (@kirkkorner) 23 May 2019
District Judge Margot Coleman said she would announce on 29 May if the private prosecution can go forward.
In Britain most prosecutions are brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is a government agency, but sometimes people fund cases privately.
One of the most famous private prosecutions was in 1994 by the family of Stephen Lawrence, who brought murder charges against Gary Dobson, Luke Knight and Neil Acourt, who they claimed had killed their son.
The private prosecution failed but in 2012 Dobson and another man, David Norris, were jailed for life for Stephen Lawrence's murder.