Better case management – Counsel

Posted October 12th, 2017 in case management, criminal procedure, Crown Court, evidence, news by sally

‘Two years on, how have collective efforts to make every court hearing count evolved? Peter Hungerford-Welch summarises the procedural changes and the message from case law.’

Full Story

Counsel, October 2017


Cross examination of abused wife a ‘stain’ on justice system – judge – Law Society’s Gazette

‘A High Court judge has said he will refuse to allow alleged domestic abusers to cross examine their victims in any future hearings he oversees.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 31st May 2017


“Don’t call them McKenzie friends” – Court of Appeal looks to counter growth of unqualified advisers in crime cases – Legal Futures

‘The term “McKenzie friend” is not appropriate in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal, the vice-president of the court has said in a ruling detailing the problems that the increasing number of “unqualified third parties” is causing.’

Full story

Legal Futures, 26th May 2017


28 day pre-charge bail limit comes into force – Home Office

Posted April 6th, 2017 in bail, criminal procedure, news, time limits by tracey

‘Government introduces new pre-charge bail limit of 28 days as part of the Policing and Crime Act, which comes into effect today (Monday 3 April).’

Full press release

Home Office, 3rd April 2017


Courts bill: ‘viewing booths’ to preserve open justice – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted February 23rd, 2017 in bills, consultations, courts, criminal justice, criminal procedure, internet, news by sally

‘Interested members of the public will be able to view ‘virtual’ court hearings from purpose-built booths in court buildings, the Prisons and Courts Bill states. The proposal is an attempt to counter threats to open justice by a courts system increasingly operating digitally. Court listings and case results will also be published online, a factsheet published by the Ministry of Justice says.’

Full story

Law Society’s Gazette, 23rd February 2017


McPhee v The Queen – WLR Daily

McPhee v The Queen [2016] UKPC 29

‘The defendant, a 17-year-old from Nassau, was arrested on a neighbouring island of The Bahamas on suspicion of murder following an armed robbery. He gave his mother’s phone number in Nassau to the police but no contact with her was established and no lawyer was called. After more than 31 hours in custody, during which time the custody log showed he had been taken from his cell several times but without any record made of his being questioned, a church minister in his mid-seventies was asked to come to the police station to witness the defendant make a statement. The minister did not speak to the defendant alone nor offer him any advice, but observed that the defendant was hungry and gave the police money to buy him a meal, after which the defendant made a written statement under caution confessing to the murder. Apart from the confession the only evidence against the defendant was that of another defendant who became a prosecution witness during the trial. At trial, the defendant claimed that his statement had been made following torture and so was not admissible. The judge rejected the claim of torture but did not consider whether the taking of the defendant from his cells had been for the purpose of informal interrogation, or whether the minister could properly be said to have been acting as an “appropriate adult” for the witnessing of a juvenile’s confession, and allowed the confession to go before the jury. The defendant was convicted of murder. The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The defendant appealed to the Privy Council on the grounds, inter alia, that the confession should have been excluded under section 20 of the Bahamas Evidence Act as being unreliable, by reason of the defendant having been subjected to unrecorded questioning in the absence of a lawyer or appropriate adult and in any event should have been excluded as unfair under section 178 of the Bahamas Evidence Act.’

WLR Daily, 24th October 2016


Regina v Walker (Triston) [2016] EWCA Crim 751 – WLR Daily

Regina v Walker (Triston) [2016] EWCA Crim 751

‘The defendant was charged with murder. On 4 August 2007 the crown prosecutor made a decision to charge his co-accused with assisting an offender. That decision was taken employing the threshold test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (“DPP”) under section 37A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and considering the statutory charging procedures set out in section 37B, namely that when a case was referred by police to the DPP, the DPP should decide whether there was sufficient evidence to charge, decide which offence to charge and notify the police of his decision. The co-accused was charged by police on 21 August and the next day he was sent for trial. On 10 October a crown prosecutor gave written consent to the institution of proceedings against the co-accused. At trial the co-accused gave evidence which was broadly supportive of the defendant’s account but which contradicted that account in some respects. The defendant was convicted of murder. He sought leave to appeal against conviction, contending that the proceedings against the co-accused were a nullity, since the DPP had not given his consent until after he had been sent for trial; that, therefore, the co-accused should not have been on the same indictment as the defendant; that the co-accused’s contradictory evidence had done collateral damage to the defendant’s case; and that the conviction was therefore unsafe.’

WLR Daily, 1st July 2016


Criminal proceedings against Kossowski (Case C-486/14) – WLR Daily

Criminal proceedings against Kossowski (Case C-486/14)

‘The accused fled from Germany to Poland after being accused of committing a criminal offence in Germany, and a criminal investigation was initiated against him in that state. The Polish authorities subsequently arrested the accused with a view to the enforcement of a term of imprisonment to which he had been sentenced in Poland in a different case. Subsequently, the Polish authorities opened an investigation procedure against the accused, accusing him of an offence based on his actions in Germany but decided eventually to terminate the criminal proceedings for lack of sufficient evidence. The Higher Regional Court, Hamburg, hearing an appeal brought by the Hamburg Public Prosecutor’s Office against that decision, took the view that under the German law, the evidence against the accused was sufficient to justify the opening of trial proceedings before the Regional Court, Hamburg, and the acceptance of the indictment for the purposes of those proceedings, unless that was barred by the principle of ne bis in idem (protection from multiple prosecutions in different member states) laid down in article 54 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 between the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders (1995) (OJ 2000 L239, p 19) (the “CISA”) and article 50 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Accordingly, the Hamburg court referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling a number of questions on the interpretation of those provisions.’

WLR Daily, 30th June 2016


Juries could enter virtual crime scenes following research – BBC News

Posted May 24th, 2016 in computer programs, criminal procedure, evidence, juries, news by sally

‘Virtual reality technology used in the gaming industry could be adapted to recreate crime scenes for juries, researchers have claimed.’

Full story

BBC News, 24th May 2016


Crown Court Bench Book – Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Posted May 13th, 2016 in criminal procedure, Crown Court, judiciary, juries, press releases by tracey

‘The main aim of this Compendium is to provide guidance on directing the jury in Crown Court trials and when sentencing, though it contains some practical suggestions in other areas, for example jury management, which it is hoped will be helpful..’

Full press release

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, 10th May 2016


New offences and sentencing – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Two further significant provisions of the Serious Crime Act 2015 have been brought into force. First, on 10 November 2015, section 79 created section 40CB of the Prison Act 1952, which provides for an offence of throwing any article or substance into a prison without authorisation.’

Full story

Law Society’s Gazette, 22nd February 2016


Regina v R and others – WLR Daily

Posted January 14th, 2016 in appeals, criminal procedure, disclosure, documents, evidence, law reports by sally

Regina v R and others [2015] EWCA Crim 1941; [2015] WLR (D) 552

‘The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) gave guidance on the proper approach to disclosure of unused material in criminal proceedings where large quantities of documents, in particular electronic documents, were involved, and also on the approach to an abuse of process application where proceedings were delayed because of the disclosure exercise.’

WLR Daily, 21st December 2015


Speech by HHJ Edmund QC on Better Case Management and the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing – Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

‘Speech by HHJ Edmund QC at the Criminal Bar Association Ann Goddard Memorial Lecture on 3 November 2015 entitled ”All Change: What you need to know about Better Case Management and the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing”.

Full speech

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, 17th November 2015


Michael Gove hints at possible scrapping of criminal courts charge – The Guardian

Posted November 5th, 2015 in courts, criminal courts charge, criminal procedure, judiciary, news by sally

‘Michael Gove has given his broadest hint so far that he is seeking to ditch the highly unpopular criminal courts charge and could give magistrates and judges discretion over its enforcement.’

Full story

The Guardian, 3rd November 2015


Criminal Practice Directions and Practice Direction (Costs in Criminal Proceedings) re-issued – Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Posted October 2nd, 2015 in costs, criminal procedure, practice directions, press releases by tracey

‘Criminal Practice Directions and Practice Direction (Costs in Criminal Proceedings) re-issued.’

Full press release

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, 30th September 2015


New court charge sees judges cut compensation orders for victims – BBC News

Posted September 1st, 2015 in compensation, costs, courts, criminal courts charge, criminal procedure, fees, news by sally

‘Compensation payments to victims of crime are being affected by a new charge imposed on criminals.’

Full story

BBC News, 28th August 2015


Examining the new Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 – Halsbury’s Law Exchange

Posted August 5th, 2015 in amendments, criminal procedure, news, regulations by sally

‘How have the new Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 (Crim PR 2015) restated or amended previous legislation?’

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Halsbury’s Law Exchange, 5th August 2015


Regina (Sanjari) v Crown Court at Birmingham – WLR Daily

Regina (Sanjari) v Crown Court at Birmingham: [2015] EWHC 2037 (Admin); [2015] WLR (D) 307

‘Judges of the Crown Court should subject applications to transfer representation under regulation 14 of the Criminal Legal Aid (Determinations by a Court and Choice of Representative) Regulations 2013 to rigorous and searching scrutiny.’

WLR Daily, 15th July 2015


Criminal trials could take place in town halls to save money, says Michael Gove -Daily Telegraph

Posted July 16th, 2015 in courts, criminal procedure, electronic monitoring, magistrates, news, trials by tracey

‘Magistrates’ courts could meet in town halls or even hotel suites in a bid to save money, the Justice Secretary has said. Michael Gove confirmed there will be a new programme of court closures but the minister stressed he was keen to retain the way justice is dispensed at a local level.’

Full story

Daily Telegraph, 15th July 2015


Szegfu v Court of Pecs, Hungary – WLR Daily

Szegfu v Court of Pecs, Hungary [2015] EWHC 1764 (Admin); [2015] WLR (D) 273

‘Guidance on the application of section 26(5) of the Extradition Act 2003 relaxing the application of the strict time limit for bringing an extradition appeal in section 26(4).’

WLR Daily, 24th June 2015