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Crime

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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Offences – sexual communication with a child

A new offence of sexual communication with a child is now in force under s67 Serious Crime Act 2015 (Commencement No. 6) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017 No. 451).

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Offences – duplicity

An offence of cheating the Revenue as a course of conduct spanning nearly nine years was neither unfair nor bad for duplicity, the Court of Appeal has ruled. At a retrial, A (an accountant) was convicted of four counts of cheating the Revenue through a course of conduct over a nine-year period, and sentenced to a total of five years’ imprisonment. He unsuccessfully appealed both his conviction and sentence.

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Corporate crime – fraud

The SFO has handed out robust sentences in a high-value financial services fraud which facilitated making loans to other client companies, paying enormous commissions, bribing, and funding extravagant lifestyles. The fraud had strong similarities to the Ponzi fraud.

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Procedure – offences and defences updates

The author provides a useful overview of the very latest developments in criminal law. For instance, in the context of corporate liability, statements and documents created by the ‘directing mind’ of a company, such as emails and diaries, are admissible evidence against the company under the identification principle, whether or not the ‘directing mind’ is prosecuted.

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Sentencing – new guidance and guidelines

The Sentencing Council has issued new guidance on imposing community and custodial sentences – effective from 1 February 2017. The guidance clarifies that suspended sentences should only be imposed when custody is actually intended – and not as a more severe form of community order.

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