The Tory leadership frontrunner was facing three allegations of misconduct in public office after “Brexit Justice” campaigner Marcus Ball crowdfunded £300,000 for a private prosecution. He had claimed Mr Johnson had deliberately misled the public with his Vote Leave campaign’s slogan “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead”, which was emblazoned on a tour bus. On May 29, Mr Johnson was issued with a summons to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Today, at a hearing in London, Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone overturned the earlier decision.
Addressing Mr Johnson’s barrister, Adrian Darbishire QC, Lady Justice Rafferty said: “We are persuaded, Mr Darbishire, so you succeed, and the relief that we grant is the quashing of the summonses.”
The judge said reasons for the court’s ruling will be given at a later date.
Mr Ball, 29, told reporters before the hearing: “I’ve spent three years of my life working ridiculous hours for, per hour I believe, the minimum wage to bring this case because I believe in the merits of it.
“Somebody who was doing this to create a stunt would not act like that.”
Mr Johnson’s legal team argued that the attempt to prosecute the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip was “politically motivated and vexatious”.
The Brexiteer’s claim became symbolic of the divisions caused by the June 2016 referendum, which saw Britons vote 52-48 percent to break ties with Brussels.
Home secretary Sajid Javid, who is running against Mr Johnson to replace Theresa May, said the quashing was a win for freedom of speech.
He wrote on Twitter: “Very glad to see the court case against Boris Johnson thrown out.
“Freedom of speech feels increasingly challenged – we should always seek to debate political arguments in the open rather than close them down.”
Mr Johnson did not have to appear and chose not to attend the hearing.
Mr Ball, a Remain campaigner, founded the Brexit Justice campaign in 2016 and, according to its website, has been “working relentlessly to bring an end to lying in politics ever since”.