News

Internet giants "consciously failing" to tackle extremism on the web

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The Home Affairs Committee says that social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are "consciously failing" to combat the use of their sites to promote terrorism and killings, in its report published following an inquiry that has lasted 12 months, and included visits to Glasgow, Bradford and Europol. The Committee says these networks have become "the vehicle of choice in spreading propaganda and the recruiting platforms for terrorism".

Read the report

Government calls for greater collaboration between police forces to drive down costs

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New data on police procurement highlights the need for police forces to push opportunities to collaborate in order to deliver greater value for money for the taxpayer.

Since 2010/11 forces have saved in excess of £290m through better procurement and collaboration, but new information released today shows that that there are still many areas where forces could work together to identify savings.

The release is part of the Government’s transparency agenda to make the police more accountable to the public, and provide information on the prices paid by police for 18 essential items including forensic, telephony and office supplies. Forces are also asked to report on the extent to which they...

Tough new sanctions announced for offshore tax evaders

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The proposals will mean that those who do not come forward and pay outstanding taxes from offshore investments and accounts, could face even tougher penalties of up to three times the tax they try to evade, and increase their risk of potential criminal charges.

HMRC will be even better able to target evaders from October 2016, when it starts to receive an unprecedented amount of data on those with offshore accounts in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories – one year ahead of even more data coming in from across the globe, when the Common Reporting Standard comes into force.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison, said:

Every penny of tax that people evade...

Jail for Sussex waste boss who illegally stockpiled over 1,200 tonnes of wood

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Mr Tom McCabe, aged 32, of Sea Lane in Worthing, West Sussex appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday 22 August and pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £3,000 costs.

The Court heard that in January 2012, Mr McCabe set up a waste company, Matrix Bio Logistics, specialising in the storage and processing of waste wood with his partner, Miss Kim Box, after leasing land at the Squires Industrial Estate, Easons Green, Uckfield in East Sussex. The Environment Agency granted Mr McCabe a permit exemption for this activity but imposed strict conditions, including a limit of 500 tonnes of wood waste to be on the site in any seven day...

Busy Year for Attorney General

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New statistics released today have shown that the Attorney General’s office (AGO) received 713 requests for sentences to be reviewed under the ULS scheme in 2015. Of those, 136 were referred by the AGO to the Court of Appeal as potentially unduly lenient, with the Court agreeing to increase the original sentence for 102 offenders.

Of the 102 offenders who had their sentences increased, these related to crimes in the following categories:

  • Sexual offences (38)
  • Robbery (15)
  • Firearms offences (13)
  • Murder or manslaughter (7)
  • Grievous bodily harm (7)
  • Burglary (7)
  • Drug offences (6)
  • Causing death by dangerous driving (2)
  • Arson (1)
  • Other offences (6)

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP...

Operation Platon - DNA Miscarriage of Justice Investigation

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This reports sets out the results of a review of the potential for DNA analysis to affect the safety of convictions in criminal cases where convictions took place prior to 31st December 1990. It was undertaken on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in response to the Commissioners of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) raising with the Director the potential for the safety of convictions to be called into question following the uncontested appeal of Sean Hodgson against a conviction for murder. In the Hodgson case, DNA profiling has shown that he was not the person whose DNA was found on a vaginal swab taken from the victim.

Read the report

Treasury Select Committee criticises the way the FCA treats whistleblowers

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The Treasury Select Committee (TSC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have been exchanging letters about the FCA’s treatment of whistleblowers in general, and the SME Alliance, in particular. Like the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards before it, the TSC seems less than impressed by what it’s found.

The TSC has just published the final letter in the series, together with an extract of the evidence given by the FCA’s new CEO to the TSC, and the TSC chair’s comments on the history and next steps.

The 2013 Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards found that the FCA “appeared to show little appreciation of the personal dilemmas that whistle-blowers may face”, needed...

The Serious Fraud Office and Legal Representation During Section 2 Interviews

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It is often assumed that an individual being interviewed by an investigative body, whether under caution or voluntarily, has a fundamental right to legal representation and advice. However, the publication of new guidelines by the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO") on the presence of lawyers and the conduct of interviews conducted pursuant to section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (the "New Guidelines") calls into question this assumption. This article will consider the New Guidelines which were issued following the case of Lord v the SFO[1].

Lord v the SFO – the facts

Whilst s.2 interviews have been a powerful tool deployed by the SFO since the late 1980s, their means as a way of...

Abuse Of Process In Historical Cases: A Thing Of The Past?

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In May this year the Public Accounts Committee published a report titled the ‘Efficiency in the Criminal Justice System.’ The conclusions are unsurprising for those with any experience of the system; it is at breaking point. In the current climate it seems the courts will do everything in their power to ensure cases proceed often in spite of significant delay. Due to their nature, historical cases can often be besieged with disclosure problems, and while delay can be due to legitimate and understandable reasons it is also true that historical cases can face unjustifiably delay. The question which must be asked is, when a case suffers from both delay and disclosure issues can a defendant...

CrimeLine - New Vacancy

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CrimeLine is one of the leading providers of current awareness to criminal lawyers, servicing a client base across the UK and abroad. CrimeLine Criminal Practice is one of the key components of CrimeLine Complete – our online knowledge platform.

Position Type: Permanent. Monday – Friday, 35 hours per week.

Place: Bolton. Based at our modern offices in Bolton town centre. Bolton is just 20 minutes from the city delights of Manchester and within easy reach of the Lake District and Peak District. With excellent communication links (London 2 hours), schools and realistically priced housing, this is an opportunity to work in the Northern Powerhouse and keep a valuable work/life...

Greek prisons held to violate Article 3 – An inconsistent approach?

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On 20 July 2016, Lord Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Mitting, handed down judgment in the conjoined appeal of Gjin Marku and John Murphy where the appellants successfully argued that their extradition to Greece would constitute a violation of both Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) and Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (“The Charter”). The decision is the first High Court ruling against Greece in relation to its ‘appalling record’ of deteriorating conditions of detention pertaining to its prisons.

In previous cases, most recently the case of Balaeiharis v Greece [2015] EWHC 3702 (Admin) - decided on 21 December 2015 - the...

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons annual report: 2015 to 2016

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HM Chief Inspector of Prisons annual report: 2015 to 2016.

The annual report of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, drawing on 75 individual inspection reports of:

  • prisons
  • young offender institutions and secure training centres
  • immigration detention
  • police, court and Border Force customs custody
  • other custodial establishments

The report also uses information from other thematic reports, published between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

Deputy District Judge (Magistrates Courts)

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JAC has published reading materials for the online qualifying test. On the basis of that reading list I have prepared a summary of recent developments which may assist in your preparation. As always you must clearly understand that I have no knowledge at all of the content of the actual test and therefore these materials may not ultimately be of assistance. This is my ‘best guess’ as to what some of the trickier issues might be.

Last Updated 19 July 2016, 11.20am

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Part 1

Congratulations to all those who passed stage 1

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Stage 2 - Online Scenario Test

The theme of the scenario will be case management issues arising out of sexual offences involving 2 defendants, one of whom...

Shaken Baby Syndrome – Practical Considerations

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Shaken baby syndrome, also known as abusive head trauma or non-accidental head injury, remains a subject that divides opinion. The phenomenon is unique to infants and toddlers because of their anatomy; the weak and undeveloped neck muscles and disproportionately large head mean that upon shaking or vigorous impact the brain bounces back and forth against the skull causing bruising, swelling and bleeding. Mainstream expert opinion has determined that the triad of symptoms with which infants present in such cases are indicative of, and consistent with, shaking. However, concern has developed amongst some experts that reliance upon the triad of symptoms to diagnose the condition is...

Professional Court User Wi-Fi

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It is now expected that all courts will have PCu WiFi very soon (more details here).

Current running total of Professional Court User WiFI in both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts that is live (last updated 18 April 2016):-

Professional User Guide (PDF)

Magistrates' Courts

Crown Courts

Aberysthwyth Law Courts

Amersham Crown Court

Amersham Magistrates' Court

Barnstaple Law Courts

Banbury Magistrates' Court

Basildon Combined Court (Crown)

Barnsley Magistrates' Court

Birmingham Crown Court

Basildon Magistrates' Court

Blackfriars Crown Court

Basingstoke Magistrates' Court

Bolton Combined (Crown)

Bournemouth Crown Court

Berwick-Upon -Tweed Magistrates Court

...

New robbery sentencing guidelines put emphasis on seriousness of robberies involving knives and guns

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Today, the Sentencing Council has announced new sentencing guidelines for robbery offences which will help courts to sentence all types of offender, from a street mugger to a gang guilty of a major heist.

The guidelines have been introduced to ensure courts have comprehensive guidance covering all types of robberies committed by adults in England and Wales. These comprise:

  • Street robbery and less sophisticated commercial robbery, which make up by far the largest proportion of offences. They cover crimes committed in public places generally, such as parks, stations, public transport, small businesses and shops.
  • Professionally planned commercial robbery, which would include crimes such as...