The Practical Lawyer


Procedure – human trafficking

Criminal practitioners likely to be involved in any case where a suspect or defendant could be a victim of human trafficking should note the Law Society’s recent practice note, Criminal prosecutions of victims of trafficking.

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Offences – fresh evidence

An appeal against convictions of indecent assault, rape and indecency with a child on the grounds of fresh medical evidence has been dismissed. A had been convicted of numerous counts in 2002 and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. The Crown’s case had been that A had abused the claimant during conduct moving from inappropriate touching to rape. Medical evidence was consistent with the allegations. A denied all charges and claimed that another man, G, had been the guilty party.

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Sentencing – corporate manslaughter

   A definitive sentencing guideline, Corporate Manslaughter & Health and Safety Offences Causing Death, has been published by the Sentencing Council. It replaces earlier, limited guidance in relation to corporate manslaughter, H&S, food safety and hygiene offences. Higher fines will now be imposed on companies.

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Procedure – interpreters

   A useful practice note on the Use of interpreters in criminal cases has been published by the Law Society. This PN provides practitioners with detailed advice on the use of interpreters pre-trial in the police station and in court.

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Offences – expert witnesses

   An appeal against conviction for making indecent images of children has been allowed where a key issue for the Court of Appeal was inconsistencies regarding conviction and acquittal of various counts.

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Confiscation orders – guidance

The Court of Appeal has set out useful points judges should bear in mind in cases involving confiscation orders. A was convicted of conspiracy to defraud, and confiscation proceedings followed. The benefit from A’s crimes was calculated at £12m; the available amount was calculated at £13,943,620. The judge made a confiscation order of £12m and a compensation order of £1,943,620.

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Evidence – DNA

The Court of Appeal has given leave to appeal a ruling of no case to answer in a case involving DNA evidence. The complainant had discovered that she was being masturbated on by a man while travelling on the London Underground in 2003. Semen was deposited on her trousers, which were handed to the police. A DNA profile test was carried out and no match found on the database.

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Offences – health and safety

An appeal against conviction for health and safety offences has been dismissed. The appellant, C-T Aviation Solutions, was a civil engineering company specialising in manufacturing traffic management designs for the airport industry. Following the death of a pedestrian at Luton airport, A was convicted of two health and safety offences: failing to discharge their duty under s3.1 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and contravening Reg 11.3 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. A was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

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Sentencing – changes

This article usefully rounds up recent changes to s28 and schedule 5 to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. Key changes include an obligatory minimum sentence for any person over 16 convicted of a second or subsequent ‘offensive weapon or bladed article’ offence. Those under 18 would receive a minimum sentence of four months’ detention and a training order while over 18s would receive a minimum sentence of six months’ imprisonment.
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Sentencing – guidelines; theft

Wide-ranging new guidance will assist the courts in handing down sentences for a variety of theft offences. As the author explains, under these new rules courts will be equipped to sentence offenders in a manner which reflects not only the material value of the items stolen, but the overall impact of the theft on the victim. This might include detrimental effects on a victim’s business, emotional distress or loss of confidence. In addition, the theft of historic objects or damage to the nation’s historical heritage could now make an offence more serious.

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