The Practical Lawyer


Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 – reforms

The CJIA 2008 includes measures to:

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Computer crime – offences

Regulations brought into force on 1 October 2008 update the provisions of the Police and Justice Act 2006 involving computer and data crime.

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Requiring drug dealers to account for money – not unfair

The defendants had been involved in extensive and lucrative drug dealing over a period of years. Following their convictions for drug trafficking offences, the onus was placed on the defendants in confiscation proceedings to explain what had happened to all the money shown by the prosecution to have been in their possession.

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Knife crime – sentence unduly lenient

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, increased a teenager’s sentence for stabbing his victim with a knife from 12 months to three years, commenting that the 12-month sentence was ’significantly unduly lenient’.

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Offences taken into consideration – impact on sentencing

What is the proper approach to be taken by the courts to offences that a defendant has invited the court to take into consideration?

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One defendant becoming ill – separate trials?

Where one of several defendants in the same criminal proceedings became mentally unfit to stand trial before a jury had been empanelled, could a single jury subsequently hear the trial of all the defendants? Or should separate trials take place?

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Prostitution – new offences

The Sexual Offences Act 1985 introduced two distinct offences which can be used to prosecute those who buy sex:

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Jury – clerk’s error in taking the vote

Where the clerk of a Crown Court went wrong when he was taking the vote of a jury, it was better for counsel to interrupt and ask the clerk to start again, to avoid unnecessary excursions to the Court of Appeal.

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Earliest release date – consecutive sentences

A recent case was concerned with the correct calculation of the earliest date a prisoner could be released, namely, her eligibility for home detention curfew and her licence period when she was sentenced to consecutive sentences partly governed by the CJA 1991 and partly by the CJA 2003.

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Sexual offence – victim not competent to give evidence

A judge made a terminating ruling that a nine-year-old with learning difficulties was not competent to give evidence against an offender who had been charged with four counts relating to unlawful sexual behaviour with children.

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