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Offences – new corporate offence

Now that the corporate offence of failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 has come into force (on 30 September 2017), practitioners will welcome Law Society guidance on this new offence.  

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Sentencing – sexual assault

An outstanding doctor of just 26 years old pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual assault and was sentenced to a total of 28 months in prison. The offences were clearly out of character and caused ‘utter bewilderment’ to those who knew him. D was very remorseful and had been battling with various difficulties in his personal life, and was working extremely long hours.  

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Offences – murder

In this case, D was convicted of murder following a stabbing, while his co-accused was acquitted. D’s case was that he had merely been present at the incident and taken no part in any violence – and it was his co-accused who had carried out the stabbing.  

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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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