The Practical Lawyer


Human rights – retention of DNA by police

Section 64 PACE 1984 was amended by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 to allow for the indefinite retention by police of DNA samples and profiles lawfully taken from anyone charged with an offence, whether or not they were ultimately convicted.

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Return to custody – calculating remainder of term

On a return to custody following release from a detention and training order, the period of the ‘remainder of the term’ was to be calculated from the date when it was proved to the satisfaction of the Youth Court that an offender had failed to comply with the requirements of the supervision element of the order.

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Anonymity of witnesses – protective measures

Following the ruling of the House of Lords in Davis [2008] (see p8 of our September 2008 issue), the Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008 was passed.

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Mental health – decision not to prosecute

The decision of the CPS not to prosecute a suspect on the basis that the victim suffered from a mental illness that might affect his recollection was one that was flawed in law, and also amounted to a violation of Article 3 ECHR.

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CIJA – pre-sentence report

Section 12 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 makes clear that where a pre-sentence report is ordered it must be in writing if the defendant is under 18 or if the court is considering the imposition of a custodial sentence.

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Supplying drugs – causing death of another

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland got to grips with the difficult issues of law raised in cases involving death following the supply of controlled drugs.

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Cannabis – Class B

Police can now take legal action against anyone caught in possession of cannabis, as it has been reclassified from Class C to Class B. The decision to change the classification of the drug reflects the fact that skunk – a much stronger type of cannabis – now accounts for more than 80% of the UK market.

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Police crowd control – no breach of human rights

A anti-capitalist demonstrator was prevented from leaving a gathering in Oxford Street for about seven hours by a police cordon. She sought damages for false imprisonment and for breach of the right to liberty guaranteed by article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Age of offender – mitigating factor?

In cases of serious sexual assault, could the age of the offender or the age of the offences be mitigating factors?

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Allowing death of vulnerable adult – guidance

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 created a new offence based on a positive duty on members of the same household to protect children or vulnerable adults from serious physical harm.

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