The Practical Lawyer


Sentencing – mitigation

 A sentence of detention in a young offender institution should have been suspended because of D’s guilty plea and mitigating factors, for example, he had been exploited and set up by others, and his personal circumstances.
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Confiscation – restraint order

An appeal in relation to an application under s22 POCA succeeded. This is the first time the CA has approved a percentage reduction in a confiscation order on appeal under s22.
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Procedure – unfit to plead

An applicant unfit to plead under ss4 and 4A of the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 would not be competent to lodge an appeal against a jury decision – they can only appeal with legal representatives.
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Sentencing – arson; criminal damage

New definitive sentencing guidelines have been published for arson and criminal damage offences and came into effect on 1 October 2019. There is guidance for both the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court. 
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POCA – restraint order

Following a money laundering investigation, an all assets restraint order was made in August 2018 against R and others connected with him. In July 2019, it was discharged under s42(7) POCA on the basis that proceedings for the alleged offence had not been started within a reasonable time. The judge stayed the discharge pending an appeal.
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Sentencing – general guideline

 A new general guideline for sentencing offences not covered by any of the 130-plus specific sentencing guidelines is now in force as of 1 October 2019. Expanded explanations of sentencing guidelines have also been published which, for instance, add additional information relating to aggravating and mitigating factors. 
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Terrorism – notice of detention

A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information to a detained person about their rights and obligations under Schedules 7 and 8 of the Act and particularly clarifies the conditions under which their fingerprints and non-intimate samples can be taken.
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Sentencing – possession

An appellant’s sentence of 18 months’ detention in a young offenders’ institution should have been suspended as the judge had adopted too rigid an approach in not suspending it.
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Procedure - private prosecutions

A Code for Private Prosecutors setting out best practice has been produced by the Private Prosecutors' Association, reflecting the reality that private prosecutions raise unique issues and challenges not present in public prosecutions. The Code is voluntary and is aimed primarily at private prosecutors and law firms acting for them.

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Offences - 'potting'

The Court of Appeal has given guidance on the sentencing of 'potting', ie where a prisoner throws or smears a prison officer with urine, faeces or both. Normally a prison discipline matter, potting may be a criminal offence under s24 Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

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The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations came into force on 2 December 2019 enabling mixed-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, as an alternative to marriage or cohabitation. Read more...
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A vegan is someone who does not eat or use animal products. 'Ethical' veganism is more than just not eating or using animal products – it goes beyond this in that ethical vegans try to exclude all... Read more...
Stalking – orders
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