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Homeless people charged for not going home

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Issue 2704
Sleeping rough in London
Sleeping rough in London (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Homeless people are being arrested and charged under coronavirus legislation.

On Monday the Crown Prosecution Service pushed ahead with a case to get a court hearing against a homeless man for refusing to return home.

He was charged with “leaving the place you were living, namely no fixed address” during lockdown.

This was despite the legislation, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. 

It says the restriction and penalties for not returning home when instructed “does not apply to any person who is homeless”.

There have been at least three cases of homeless people in London pursued under the legislation. 


It is possible for someone to be charged as of “no fixed abode” if they refuse to give their address. 

Homeless people abandoned in a system ‘designed to fail’
Homeless people abandoned in a system ‘designed to fail’
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In one case in Manchester John Wesley Brogan was convicted and fined for being drunk and disorderly last month. 

Initially he was charged under the coronavirus legislation, but this was dropped in court because he was homeless.

This week the on-the‑spot fines for ignoring police instructions are to be increased to £100.

Meanwhile, in London two homeless men were severely beaten last Thursday with one ending up in a critical condition in hospital.

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