15:51 GMT +323 January 2020
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    During the 2016 referendum the battle bus on which Boris Johnson toured the country promised that the £350 million the UK gives the EU every week would be redirected to the National Health Service in the event of Brexit.

    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 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."

    In January 2018, Johnson — who is the leading contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party — told the Guardian the £350 million sum was actually too low.

    ​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.

    ​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.





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