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Procedure – SFO interviews

Recent SFO guidance has given rise to a new Law Society practice note, Representing clients at section 2 CJA interviews. The SFO has published revised Operational guidance – presence of interviewee’s legal adviser at a section 2 interview addressed to interviewees and their lawyers.

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Sentencing – speeding

Greater sentencing powers for magistrates are now in force in respect of fines for serious speeding offences. Notably, there is a new higher penalty for excessive speeding above legal speed limits.

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Procedure – death of defendant

 

It is critical to maintain an approach to criminal justice that is consistent and even-handed, maintaining a definitive position that the death of a defendant brings any criminal prosecution of that defendant to an end. So said Sir Brian Leveson P, giving judgment in the Court of Appeal in a case where the defendant died before the jury gave its verdicts.

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Defences – dangerous driving

Is self-defence capable in law of being invoked as a defence to a charge of dangerous driving? In a somewhat unusual case, A was convicted of making off without payment, and one count of dangerous driving. She had taken a cab ride home and told the driver she would go in to collect the fare, and return within two minutes. She failed to do so, but a few minutes later he spotted her, having changed her clothes and getting into another car.

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Procedure – confiscation proceedings

There was no basis on which to grant an extension of time, the Court of Appeal ruled, in a renewed application for an extension of time of nearly eight years to appeal against a confiscation order.

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Offences – conveying prohibited articles into prison

The mens rea required for a conviction of conveying a prohibited article into a prison under the Prison Act 1952 has been clarified. The offence is not one of strict liability, contrary to what some practitioners wrongly believe.

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Appeal – trial in D’s absence

The appellant appealed his conviction, in his absence, of an offence of conspiracy to supply cannabis contrary to s1 Criminal Law Act 1977. A suffered from chronic heart disease, and the consultant cardiologists all agreed that A could not cope with physical attendance throughout a normal trial.

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Procedure – CPR amendments

The latest amendments to the CPR are now in force as of 3 April 2017. The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2017 introduce new rules concerning:

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Arrest – convention rights

The police may arrest and detain individuals to prevent an imminent breach of the peace where there is insufficient time to give a warning, without breaching Article 5 ECHR.

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Evidence – DNA

A new judgment broadens the principle of bringing cases only on the basis of matching DNA. The author of this article highlights a common misconception about the status of DNA evidence.

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