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Crime

Practice – grime music

Most tech-savvy, progressive law firms are moving towards total digital working practices, and the courts and CPS are now fully digital. The author of this useful article discusses the development of electronic evidence, such as CCTV, particularly focusing on ’grime’ music and other types of video evidence, including YouTube.  

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Offences – historical sex assault

The Rotherham sex abuse scandal has generated a huge amount of publicity in recent years. One of those convicted applied for leave to appeal his conviction on the grounds that, firstly, his significant medical problems made it impossible for him to give meaningful evidence, in breach of his Article 6 right to a fair trial; and secondly, the judge ruled wrongly in respect of an application to adduce evidence of a false complaint by a witness.  

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Offences – tax evasion

From September 2017, it will be a criminal offence for companies to fail to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion in relation to UK taxes under s45 Criminal Finances Act 2017; s46 creates an offence of corporate failure to prevent the facilitation of foreign tax evasion offences.

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Crime – new provisions

New provisions under the Policing and Crime Act 2017 are now in force. These include a redefinition of ‘sexual exploitation’ in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to now include the streaming of indecent images, and anonymity provisions for complainants of forced marriage.

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Procedure – legal aid

The Law Society has published guidance for practitioners on refusing to undertake legal aid work, and clarifying their obligations under the legal aid contract. The aim of the practice note, Rejecting un-remunerative publicly funded criminal work, is to help solicitors identify circumstances which may warrant a refusal to undertake legal aid work and, in doing so, to ensure compliance with the SRA Code of Conduct.

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Offences – reporting obligation

There is a new offence of failing to report violations of the financial sanctions/assets seizure regimes, with important implications for legal professionals. This is a useful article on the latest developments in sanctions enforcement in light of this new criminal offence, and what it means.

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Sentence – murder; admissions

This high-profile case involved two young people who began their relationship while at school. They became obsessed with each other, and with suicide. As their toxic relationship progressed, they grew to hate the mother and sister of the female partner – which ended in their murder. The trial judge described the crimes as having ‘few parallels in modern criminal history’.

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Offences – sexual offences

Fresh evidence was insufficient to show a conviction was unsafe. A was convicted on four counts under s1(1) Sexual Offences Act and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was also convicted of assault by penetration under s2 of the Act but no separate penalty was imposed.

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Sentencing – children and YP

Definitive guidelines (revised) on sentencing children and young people, and reduction in sentence for a guilty plea, are now in effect as of 1 June 2017. The sentencing guidelines set out the overarching principles, as well as specific guidelines in relation to sexual offences and robbery.

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Sentencing – health and safety

The Court of Appeal allowed a large company’s appeal against sentence for two health and safety offences. At issue was the appropriate level of fine for a very large business organisation (Tata Steel) for two health and safety offences which resulted in serious and long-lasting injuries to two of its employees.

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