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NEWS AND UPDATES

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December 2018

Computer hacking

December 18th, 2018|

Hacking has been in the news a great deal in the last couple of years, for example, the 2016 US Presidential Elections, the extradition case of Lauri Love and the hacking of user accounts of various large companies in order [...]

Stop and Search

December 11th, 2018|

The power of the police to stop and search is currently in the media due to the rise in murders and serious crimes of violence involving the use of knives, particularly in London. A particular area of concern is the [...]

Fly-tipping – ensuring all polluters pay

December 6th, 2018|

We all know that fly-tipping is an offence, but did you know you commit an offence if you pass waste to someone who isn’t licensed?  What do you mean by ‘waste’? This article is referring to household waste, for example, [...]

November 2018

What Next for Sally?

November 30th, 2018|

In a dramatic climax the jury returned guilty verdicts in the case of R v Sally Metcalfe, the hapless Coronation Street Councillor caught up in fraud, money laundering and bribery. As viewers will know, poor Sally appears to be a [...]

Price and service transparency

November 28th, 2018|

Price and service transparency As of 6 December 2018, law firms are required to publish information about certain price, service and regulatory matters. Who needs to publish information? An authorised firm or a sole practitioner must publish cost information on [...]

Nuisance calls and the Information Commissioner’s Office

November 19th, 2018|

  Everyone has received a nuisance call, and they are a real nuisance to many, but how do your details become available, and what is being done about it? Who are the ICO? The Information Commissioner’s Office (the ‘ICO’) is [...]

Can I get a suspended prison sentence?

November 18th, 2018|

A suspended sentence is a term of imprisonment that is suspended so that you do not go into custody immediately and will not go into custody if you comply with the conditions attached. Who can get a suspended sentence? In [...]

Alexa – Witness for the Prosecution?

November 14th, 2018|

On 29th January 2017, Christine Sullivan and her housemate were found murdered in Farmington, New Hampshire. Their bodies were discovered by the house owner, Dean Smoronk, who was Sullivan’s boyfriend. Timothy Verrill, an associate of Smornok, was later charged with [...]

Offences Related to State Benefits

November 7th, 2018|

There are two main offences that are prosecuted in relation to benefit fraud, one involves dishonesty, the other does not. The dishonesty offence It is an offence to dishonestly make a representation in order to obtain benefit, and this includes [...]

October 2018

Forced Marriage

October 29th, 2018|

Coercing someone into marrying another for some financial or societal benefit is illegal. In April of this year, three young women in Sheffield became subject to Forced Marriage Protection Orders. This case highlights the how embedded this type of offending [...]

Focus on ‘Dangerous Dogs’

October 17th, 2018|

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s report 'Controlling dangerous dogs' calls for a full-scale review of current dog control legislation and policy to better protect the public. The report was published on 17 October 2018. Is there a problem? [...]

Publishing, or having for publication for gain, an obscene article

October 15th, 2018|

Prosecuting those who publish obscene articles (an offence under section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) is hardly prudish, despite what certain commentators would argue. The maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment will frequently be warranted for activities which [...]

Can I get a reduced sentence by helping the police?

October 10th, 2018|

You may have heard about ‘texts’ or a ‘Brown envelope to the Judge’, some of the names for the old system. If you helped the police a ‘text’ may be handed to the sentencing judge explaining that you had assisted [...]

Companies and Bribery

October 3rd, 2018|

Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 makes it an offence for a company to bribe another with the intent of obtaining or retaining business or to gain an advantage in business. The first conviction after trial for an offence [...]

Contempt of Court

October 2nd, 2018|

The case of Tommy Robinson, or to give him his real name, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has brought this issue into the public eye, but what is it all about? What is contempt of court? The interesting thing about contempt of court [...]

September 2018

Private Probation Providers Fail Offenders and Society

September 26th, 2018|

A few years ago, the National Probation Service was split into two. The exiSting service maintained its supervision of high-risk offenders, mainly those serving lengthy sentences or with complex rehabilitation needs, the remaining offenders, by far the vast majority, are [...]

Is being sexist or misogynist a crime?

September 26th, 2018|

The answer is sometimes, but not always. Two years ago, Nottinghamshire Police decided to label misogyny and offences targeting women as hate crime or hate incidents. Two local universities recently undertook a report entitled “The Misogyny Hate Crime Evaluation” report [...]

Do I have to give the police my phone PIN?

September 19th, 2018|

The simple answer is no, but there are potential consequences in certain circumstances. When can they ask? It is arguable that the police could ask you whenever they wanted for your PIN, you can always say no. The critical issue [...]

What to expect as a witness

September 13th, 2018|

If you have provided a statement for the prosecution or for the defence you may be called to court to give evidence at the defendant’s trial. Is there help available for me? The Witness Service provide assistance for any witness [...]

The cannibal drug that makes you smell of vinegar and prawns

September 10th, 2018|

What are you talking about? Monkey dust is a synthetic drug, a type of new psychoactive substance. It is similar to other cathinone drugs such as MDPV, methylone and magic crystals. In the USA it is known as “Zombie Dust” [...]

Child Cruelty – New Sentencing Guideline

September 6th, 2018|

The Sentencing Council has published a new guideline for how those guilty of child cruelty offences should be sentenced.  It covers three offences: cruelty to a child; causing or allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm; and [...]

What power do the police have to test my eyesight?

September 3rd, 2018|

There has been much ado in the press about police forces undertaking random checks on motorists and revoking licences at the roadside. So, what are their powers? Can the police stop me? Under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act [...]

August 2018

Supplying drugs or possessing with intent to supply

August 30th, 2018|

  Supplying drugs or possessing with intent to supply These are the more serious offences relating to drugs that can lead to lengthy custodial sentences. What drugs are illegal to supply? It is an offence to supply a controlled drug. [...]

Why was Ben Stokes found not guilty?

August 28th, 2018|

Who is Ben Stokes? He is the England cricketer who was charged with affray and acquitted by a jury. But the video showed him hitting someone? It did, his defence was that he was acting in self-defence, you can hit [...]

Acquittals and enhanced record checks

August 25th, 2018|

If I’m acquitted will the alleged offence show on a DBS check? An ordinary DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check reveals convictions and cautions. An enhanced check, required for many jobs, may reveal information held by the police such as [...]

Racially aggravated offences

August 21st, 2018|

Racially aggravated offences In recent years legislation has been enacted to ensure that crimes demonstrating a hostility towards certain groups of people are treated more seriously than before. If an offence is said to be racially aggravated, then you should [...]

What to expect as a witness

August 16th, 2018|

If you have provided a statement for the prosecution or for the defence you may be called to court to give evidence at the defendant’s trial. Is there help available for me?  The Witness Service can provide assistance for any [...]

Will I be granted bail?

August 13th, 2018|

This article refers to adults, the law for youths is different Do I have a right to bail?  The starting point is that you have a “right” to be granted bail. This right can only be taken away in certain [...]

Fail to provide a breath specimen

August 8th, 2018|

If you are suspected of driving with excess alcohol in your body, you may be asked to provide a breath sample at the roadside. If that sample is positive, you are likely to be arrested and take to the police [...]

Criminal damage

August 6th, 2018|

Essentially, the crime is made out if you intentionally or recklessly damage property. Most commonly it is damage to cars and windows, very often as an act of revenge. The damage does not need to be permanent. There have been [...]

July 2018

Cliff Richard, Privacy and the Data Protection Act

July 23rd, 2018|

In July 2014 the BBC filmed a search of Sir Cliff Richard’s property by the South Yorkshire Police. He was not arrested for any offence. South Yorkshire Police provided the BBC with information that enabled them to be present at [...]

Consent

July 18th, 2018|

  It should be easy enough, shouldn’t it? Yes or no? As always, life and the law are more complicated than that, and the issue of consent is not so simple. What is consent? A person consents if she or [...]

It’s health and safety gone mad!

July 17th, 2018|

Or is it? The Health and Safety Executive is the national regulator for workplace health and safety. Interestingly, on its website, there is a page for debunking health and safety myths, such as the one where flags were banned from [...]

Explosives

July 14th, 2018|

Rather than Guy Fawkes or his modern-day counterparts many of the recent cases involving explosives have been in relation to thefts from cash machines. The law is old but still very relevant today; it may not be appreciated that a [...]

New Sentencing Guideline Issued

July 5th, 2018|

The Sentencing Council has published new definitive guidelines for intimidatory offences, it will take effect in respect to all cases sentenced on or after 1 October 2018, so may well affect your current case. Sentencing Council member Judge Rosa Dean [...]

June 2018

Criminal Behaviour Orders

June 27th, 2018|

Is it an ASBO?  The criminal behaviour order (CBO) replaced the Anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) and can be made if convicted of a criminal offence. There are some key differences between the two orders, but the overall impact is very [...]

Weapons – Government to Get Tough

June 25th, 2018|

The government has published an Offensive Weapons Bill, which is designed to signal a more stringent approach to the possession of weapons and liquids that can be used to cause harm, such as corrosive substances. The Bill forms part of [...]

“I’m Going to Kill You!”

June 21st, 2018|

How many times have you said something similar? Is it an offence? If you make such a threat, intending that another would fear it would be carried out, you commit an offence of making threats to kill. The offence is [...]

Taking Offences into Consideration – The Issue of TICs

June 18th, 2018|

  What are TICs?  TICs are offences to be taken into consideration at the time of sentencing. When would I be asked about them?  If you have pleaded guilty to an offence or are expected to, or are due to [...]

Targeting Drink Drivers

June 11th, 2018|

The government has announced its intention to use new roadside breathalysers, in a move that could see a further 6,000 convictions per year for drink driving. At the moment, the breath test procedure is in 2 stages, a person who [...]

Social Media Crime

June 7th, 2018|

With the ever-growing popularity of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it is important to take a step back and consider your use of them. You need to make sure that you and your children not only [...]

May 2018

Unlawful Eviction

May 31st, 2018|

So called ‘Rogue landlords’ are frequently in the news for allegedly charging tenants too much money, refusing to release a deposit or evicting tenants unlawfully. What is meant by ‘unlawful eviction’? The statutory starting point is the Protection from Eviction [...]

Environment Agency Penalties

May 29th, 2018|

Although some breaches of environmental law amount to criminal offences, not all do. There are a wide range of potential penalties that are quite different to those usually faced for standard criminal offences. Even where a criminal offence has been [...]

Problems with visual identification evidence

May 23rd, 2018|

A critical evidential problem for courts is how much weight to place upon identification evidence where that evidence is weak or based on a very brief encounter. You would think that the usual rules apply regarding the jury's verdict; if [...]

Stalking

May 22nd, 2018|

New offences of stalking (in addition to existing offences of harassment) were introduced in 2012. The offences are harassment which involves a course of conduct that amounts to stalking. There are two offences, stalking involving fear of violence and stalking [...]

Drugs Importation

May 14th, 2018|

It is common for officers at airports and other ports of entry to intercept people carrying controlled drugs in their luggage, clothing or inside their bodies on behalf of suppliers in foreign jurisdictions. The colloquial term for such people is [...]

April 2018

Will My Name Appear in Newspapers?

April 30th, 2018|

If you are over 17 years of age, the easiest answer is that it could. These days, press reporting via social media can happen very quickly and it is often one of the things not thought about by those facing [...]

Another Fine Mess

April 25th, 2018|

  In the crown court, while a fine is not the most common punishment meted out, when they are imposed they tend to be very large. Do I have to pay the fine all at once? Sometimes a court will [...]

Sentencing Is Its Own Risky Business – The Hidden Penalty

April 23rd, 2018|

When clients turn their mind to what punishment they might receive if they plead guilty to, or are convicted of, a criminal offence, in most cases the thought is whether it might be a prison sentence, a community penalty, or [...]

Did Ant Get Off Lightly?

April 18th, 2018|

A lot has been written in recent days about the sentence passed following Ant McPartlin's (of 'And and Dec' fame) conviction for drink driving, in this article, we examine the case in a little more detail. What offence was he [...]

The ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ – An Unsatisfactory Score Draw

April 16th, 2018|

The High Court has given judgment in the first of what are referred to as 'right to be forgotten' cases. Two applicants referred to in the judgment as NT1 and NT2 had been convicted in the past of a criminal [...]

Burglary and Self-Defence

April 9th, 2018|

The law of self-defence is again in the spotlight following the case of 78-year-old Richard Osborn-Brooks who was briefly investigated after the fatal stabbing of a burglar who entered his property. Mr Osborn-Brooks woke in the early hours to find [...]

create_metaboxes

April 4th, 2018|

We are often asked questions about QCs, most probably because the image of leading barristers has been epitomised over the years in leading television dramas such as Silk and Kavanagh QC, it is therefore not surprising that you may want [...]

When Driving Becomes Dangerous

April 3rd, 2018|

There is a specific offence of dangerous driving, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 2 years. If that driving is a cause of someone's death, the maximum sentence rises to one of 14 years. In each case there are [...]

March 2018

New Sentencing Guidelines for Arson and Criminal Damage Proposed

March 28th, 2018|

The Sentencing Council has today (27 March 2017) published proposed new guidelines covering arson and criminal damage offences. The guidelines, for courts in England and Wales, will help ensure consistent and proportionate sentencing for these offences. Why are new guidelines [...]

Tougher Sentences for Persons Convicted of Terrorism Offences

March 28th, 2018|

The Sentencing Council has today published new guidelines that courts must have regard to when sentencing for a range of terrorism offences. Who will be affected by the new guidelines? The guidelines apply to all offenders over the age of [...]

The Disclosure and Barring Service

March 22nd, 2018|

The DBS is a government organisation responsible for the reporting of convictions and other information to employers and other relevant organisations. What Data is Held? The DBS holds three classes of information: Class 1: spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands [...]

Throwing articles into prisons

March 19th, 2018|

It can be a temptation to family members, and to others perhaps for financial gain, to seek to convey articles into prisons. The chance of being detected is high and possibly for that reason many who might otherwise be tempted [...]

Searching For Answers

March 15th, 2018|

In Entick v Carrington (1765), a case concerning the entry to and searching of premises, the court ruled: “…if this is law it would be found in our books, but no such law ever existed in this country; our law [...]

New Domestic Abuse Protections Announced

March 13th, 2018|

In a major announcement, the government has signalled a busy year ahead with legislative changes affecting the criminal law. Following on from the recent announcement about the sentencing of domestic abuse offences, the government has announced further reforms. There will [...]

Shaken Baby Syndrome

March 10th, 2018|

The unlawful death of a child is always a deeply traumatic act and one that shakes any society to its core. For some parents, it represents not only a deeply personal and tragic loss but the beginning of a nightmare. [...]

Knife Crime – Sentencing Changes

March 10th, 2018|

Knife crime is very much on the political agenda, with a number of stabbings having taken place over the last few weeks, resulting in deaths and injury, and no doubt the loss of liberty in due course for those responsible. [...]

Choosing a Solicitor – One Chance to Get It Right

March 10th, 2018|

For many people, facing the prospect of criminal investigation or proceedings is a daunting prospect, one that can often inflict a heavy toll not just on themselves, but also on their loved ones. It is therefore essential that proper professional [...]

February 2018

Hillsborough Prosecutions

February 26th, 2018|

A former senior police officer, David Duckenfield, who was in charge on the day of the Hillsborough disaster, will this week find out whether prosecution proceedings against him can continue. Prosecutions against others allegedly involved in the Hillsborough tragedy began [...]

What Happens in Rome, May Not Stay in Rome

February 19th, 2018|

Most people know that if you commit a criminal offence in the UK, the police will record details of that offence and any subsequent sentence so that it is revealed during any future PNC (Police National Computer) check. But what [...]

Dogs – Avoiding a Death Penalty

February 17th, 2018|

It is often said that there is no such thing as a dangerous dog, only a dangerous owner. While we often refer to 'dangerous dogs' in criminal law, the actual offences relate to dogs 'dangerously out of control'. Section 10 [...]

Police Roll Out Portable Identity Checking

February 14th, 2018|

The government this week announced that West Yorkshire Police has signed up to a new identity checking service. The new service, already being used in a select number of force areas, with a further 20 going live before the end [...]

Doctors in the Dock

February 7th, 2018|

Many in the medical profession are up in arms following a recent High Court case involving Dr Bawa-Garba (General Medical Council v Bawa-Garba [2018] EWHC 76 (Admin). The case followed on from proceedings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal which had [...]

Government Snooping Ruled Unlawful

February 6th, 2018|

In a legal challenge brought by the MP Tom Watson, and supported by campaign group Liberty, the High Court ruled that a major plank of the government's surveillance strategy is unlawful (Secretary of State for the Home Department v Watson [...]

January 2018

Revenge Porn Can Be an Expensive Business

January 31st, 2018|

  "Revenge porn", the criminal act of posting online intimate sexual pictures/video of a person without their consent, carries a potential prison sentence of up to 2 years, so already there is every reason to think twice before exacting this [...]

Unexplained Wealth Orders

January 30th, 2018|

On 31st January 2018, regulations bring into force sections of The Criminal Finances Act 2017 dealing with unexplained wealth orders (UWOs), along with various other related provisions. The purpose of this new order is to allow for certain people who [...]

The “Right to be Forgotten”

January 24th, 2018|

Redemption has always been an important part of our justice system; you do the crime, you do time. Once your debt is paid, you should then be free to start again, without forever being haunted by ghosts of the past. [...]

A Matter of Character

January 23rd, 2018|

  In criminal law, we talk a lot about character, but mainly in the context of 'bad character', or previous convictions that the prosecution will try to put before a jury to persuade them of the defendant's guilt. After all, [...]

The Prosecutor in Your Pocket

January 17th, 2018|

  We are all aware that we live in a surveillance society. CCTV cameras can record our movements around large towns and cities, and many homes now have them installed for protection. Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras take a snapshot [...]

When People Talk Bitcoin, It’s Time to Ask Questions

January 15th, 2018|

  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are never far from the news, mainly when the value is rising considerably. This week the price of a single bitcoin rose to a little over £10,000. It is an odd 'currency', as it is [...]

Is it Lawful to Hit a Child?

January 11th, 2018|

  Laws that criminalise unlawful violence date back to 1861 and are used every day in criminal courts to support prosecutions. Despite what might appear to be an obvious legal position, the question is often asked as to whether, despite [...]

Landlords to Face Additional Punishment

January 10th, 2018|

  The government has announced that it intends to bring into force a number of provisions contained in the Housing and Planning Act 2016. From 6 April 2018 the Act will allow local authorities to apply for a banning order [...]

December 2017

Appeals Against Sentence

December 26th, 2017|

In this article, we consider appeals against sentence from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal. The appeal process can be complicated depending on the individual case, but here we outline the basics. Early Indications We ensure that all [...]

Can I Have a Restraining Order Discharged?

December 26th, 2017|

A great many people are subject to restraining orders made under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. The orders are designed to protect people from harassment and are commonly made in so-called 'domestic violence' cases. However, life moves on, and [...]

Confiscation – The Hidden Sentence

December 26th, 2017|

  If you were able to listen in to a conference between client and solicitor, you might hear an exchange a little like this one: 'What am I looking at?' 'Around 12-15 months, suspended if you are very lucky.' 'Oh, [...]

Points, Lies and Prison

December 23rd, 2017|

  One of the most serious offences that can come before a court is 'perverting the course of justice', this is because it strikes at the very heart of the justice system. Due to its seriousness, immediate custody almost always [...]

Disclosure – The Hidden Truth

December 18th, 2017|

  When the Director of Public Prosecutions writes to a national newspaper and apologises for a prosecution failure in an individual case, you know that something significant went wrong. Before exploring that however, it might be thought a great pity [...]

Recreational Drug Use – The Hidden Costs

December 11th, 2017|

As Christmas approaches and we begin to let our hair down a little and enjoy the festivities, some people are enticed into the world of so-called 'recreational drugs'. There are a great many substances that might properly be categorised as [...]

Extradition – An Introduction

December 7th, 2017|

  Extradition is the formal process where one country asks another to return a person to stand trial or to serve a sentence. Under multilateral conventions and bilateral extradition treaties, the UK has extradition relations with over 100 territories around [...]

Jury Trial – How Your Fate is Decided

December 4th, 2017|

  We talk a lot in this Country about the benefits of a jury trial, how leaving the decision in the hands of 12 people chosen at random, is the fairest way of securing justice, but how does a jury [...]

November 2017

Follow The Money

November 29th, 2017|

  'Follow the money' is a rather clichéd line from the film 'All The President's Men' which charted the scandal that engulfed President Nixon in the 1970s. But even today, the money trail is very much the first line of [...]

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

November 27th, 2017|

Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) are commonly issued by police when attending incidents of alleged domestic violence. Invariably, whatever the rights and wrongs of a situation, and frequently it is quite impossible for this to be correctly judged, the male [...]

Forensic Testing Scandal – Is Your Conviction Safe?

November 22nd, 2017|

Forensic Testing Scandal - Is Your Conviction Safe? New details have emerged about forensic testing deficiencies at two of the country's leading laboratories. Police are currently investigating the circumstances, and a number of people have been arrested. Randox Testing Services [...]

None for The Road

November 20th, 2017|

As we put Halloween and Bonfire Night behind us, easing into those dark wintry nights, it isn't long before Christmas is in our sights and party season gets underway. As night follows day, this time also coincides with a national [...]

November 19th, 2017|

'Laughing gas' more properly known as Nitrous Oxide, is back in the news following a Court of Appeal ruling that the substance is controlled by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. The Act makes it an offence to possess psychoactive substances [...]

Gun Amnesty

November 19th, 2017|

Gun Amnesty A two-week gun amnesty begins today across the UK. In this period people will have an opportunity to dispose of firearms and ammunition safely, with 'no questions asked'.   Who are the police reaching out to? The amnesty [...]

Driving Disqualification – Get Your Licence Back

November 19th, 2017|

In some instances, it is possible to apply to a court and ask that a driving ban is ended early. Therefore, if your circumstances have changed since being disqualified, it is worth discussing with one of our criminal law [...]

October 2017

Are driving offence serious?

October 1st, 2017|

T he world is for sure truly a beautiful place to live in. but some serious driving offences can make it a nightmare, driving offences that can result in your license being revoked, heavy fine and in some cases even [...]

September 2017

British Drivers Breaking Foreign Laws

September 28th, 2017|

it is not a new thing that British drivers break foreign laws easily as they find the foreign sign boards confusing. Many do not bother to understand the rules of the country they are in before going on the roads, [...]

LIAR

September 19th, 2017|

L iar, ITV's new 6-part drama, is gripping the nation, with people already reaching conclusions as to whether Laura, played by the actress Joanne Froggatt (better known for her role as Anna Bates in Downton Abbey) is telling the truth [...]


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