June 2013

Intimidation of witnesses - Contrary to the observation in R. v Patrascu (Andrew) [2004] EWCA Crim 2417, [2005] 1 W.L.R. 3344, [2004] C.L.Y. 752, in order to secure a conviction for witness intimidation under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.51(1), the Crown had to show that the victim whom an offender intended to intimidate was in fact intimidated, because the act of intimidation was part of the actus reus of the offence and therefore had to be proved. If the victim was not intimidated, but the other ingredients of the offence were proved, then the offender might be guilty of attempted witness intimidation.

Film producers in court to face GBP 125m tax fraud charges - Keith Hayley and Robert Bevan, two film producers behind the largest alleged tax fraud to reach court after investigations by Revenue and Customs into film investment schemes, have had their case transferred to Birmingham Crown Court for a hearing in July 2013.

A prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence whose detention was prolonged by the Parole Board's delay in reviewing his case following the expiry of his tariff was not the victim of either false imprisonment or a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.5(1). Nevertheless, damages were ordinarily to be awarded for such delay where it was established that an earlier hearing would have resulted in an earlier release. Where that was not established, modest damages were to be awarded where the delay had caused sufficiently serious frustration and anxiety.

Surveillance Camera Code of Practice - Responding to a statutory consultation, a Home Office code of practice sets out guidance on police and local authority use of CCTV and automatic number plate recognition. The code aims to encourage transparency in the use of surveillance and ensure public bodies consider whether the erection of new cameras is proportionate.

Hundreds of young offenders will face a year's compulsory supervision after release - The Secretary of State for Justice has announced that offenders who reach their 18th birthday in prison will face a year's compulsory supervision after release, regardless of the length of their initial sentence. Currently more than three-quarters of teenage criminals return to crime within a year of being released from prison and only young offenders serving sentences of two years or more are subject to a minimum of 12 months' supervision in the community.

May 2013

R. v Norris (David Allan) - The applicant was refused permission to appeal against his conviction for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The judge had correctly admitted DVD evidence of bad character under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.101(1)(d) which post-dated the fatal attack and the risks of contamination of the forensic evidence had been fully explored by the judge in his summing up.

Special courts to be set up for traffic offences - The Government has announced that it is discussing proposals with the judiciary to set up special traffic courts across the country in an attempt to free up time for more serious cases. Nine areas which have tested the new traffic courts reported them to be a success.

Property fraudster given extra four years: SFO appeal for deterrent sentences bears fruit - Oliver Herald, the Solicitor-General, on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office, has succeeded in the Court of Appeal to get Achilleas Kallakis' sentence increased following his conviction for property fraud between 2003 and 2008. The court ruled that the original sentence was not harsh enough and increased it by four years to 11 years. Alexander Williams, Kallakis' righthand man, also had his sentence increased from five to eight years. Kevin Robinson, head of criminal investigations at Irwin Mitchell, said that the sentences were among the biggest for fraud for 15 years.

Twice as many innocent people are labelled as criminals - The Criminal Records Bureau's annual report shows that up to 500 people may have received incorrect criminal records between April and December 2012 - more than twice the number potentially given wrong records in the full 2011-12 financial year.

The Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour - This Order amends the Penalties for Disorderly Behaviour (Amount of Penalty) Order 2002 (SI 2002 1837) and increases the value of both lower and higher-tier Penalty Notices for Disorder, from GBP 50 and GBP 80 to GBP 60 and GBP 90 respectively.

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