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Crime

Transfer of prisoner – mental hospital

If a decision was taken at the end of a prisoner’s sentence to transfer him to a mental hospital under s47 Mental Health Act 1983, the decision by the Secretary of State to direct the transfer could not be taken only on the ground that the prisoner would be a danger to the public if released.

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Bad character – take care

The CA warns that considerable caution must be taken before a court will allow admission, as bad character, of reprehensible behaviour other than previous convictions.

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Hearsay – update

Two cases of interest on hearsay evidence:

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ID – earprints

Earprints are admissible in evidence but the facts of each case must be examined carefully. In a recent case the police had recovered an earprint from a window pane and the expert giving evidence at trial contended that the earprint found on the window pane matched earprints subsequently taken from the defendant.

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Evidence – voice recognition

The CA has given welcome guidance in relation to voice recognition evidence.

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Assisted suicide – human rights

An individual’s human rights under Article 8(1) were not engaged in relation to assisted suicide.

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Sentencing – death by dangerous driving

p>Sentencing guidelines have been reconsidered in the case of R v Barnes [2008]. The defendant was driving his truck along a dual carriageway when an unsecured sofa in the rear fell onto the inside lane.
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Crime – prison law

It is not uncommon for prisoners to complain that their legal mail has been interfered with. The Prison Rules prohibit legal correspondence being opened, read or stopped, unless specific exceptions apply.

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Crime – CPR

Before the introduction of the CPR, finding the rules that applied to any particular aspect of criminal litigation was time-consuming and frustrating. There was inconsistency in language, time scales and general approach, with most rules being observed in the breach.

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