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Crime

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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Offences – human trafficking

Human trafficking continues to be a scourge on modern society, and the courts are increasingly ruling in cases involving trafficking, or alleged trafficking. A recent Court of Appeal ruling is notable for its lengthy discussion on the modern law (making up virtually half of its judgment):

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Procedure – PACE

Revised Codes of Practice C, D and H under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act are now in force. The revised codes came into force on 23 February 2017 and relate to:

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Defences – diminished responsibility

In a recent case, D admitted killing his partner by stabbing her multiple times following an argument, but he pleaded diminished responsibility. The evidence of three medical experts was that it was their belief that at the time D had been suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning which ‘substantially impaired’ his ability to understand, for instance, the nature of his conduct or to exercise self-control. This explained D’s conduct in that it had caused, or was a significant contributory factor in causing, him to carry out that conduct – thus establishing diminished responsibility under s2 Homicide Act 1957.

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Evidence – identification; photographs

The use of photographs in legal proceedings has more danger and inconvenience than might at first be imagined, says the author of this useful article, and the courts will not always allow photographs to be used in court.

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Defences – duress

The Court of Appeal has set out the legal framework in relation to the defence of duress. In a recent case, the defendants were arrested after drugs were found on the first defendant (D) when police stopped a car in which she was a passenger. The second defendant was the driver. Both were charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs under s1 Criminal Law Act 1977.

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Offences – Modern Slavery Act

The Law Society has issued a practice note on the Modern Slavery Act 2015 which gives solicitors guidance on complying with s54 of the Act. It provides very practical advice and highlights examples of good practice which practitioners will benefit from.

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Sentencing – confiscation order

An appeal against a confiscation order was successful to a very limited extent. In this case, D pleaded guilty to the offence of providing immigration services contrary to s84 Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and assisting unlawful immigration to a member state contrary to s25 Immigration Act 1971. The activity involved establishing a sham college which was used to facilitate illegal entry into the UK whereupon D would find students accommodation and send them to work as soon as possible in a bakery business where he was a contract manager for an employment agency.

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