6KBW Blog

Martyn Bowyer
Martyn Bowyer
4 September 2018

Might you be better off not attending your trial?

In July this year, Jack Shepherd was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of gross negligence manslaughter arising out of the high-speed crash of a speed boat on the River Thames (prosecuted by Aftab Jafferjee QC).

Shortly before the trial was due to commence the defendant informed his legal team that he was not going to attend his trial and, indeed, when the case was listed he failed to appear. It seems that both defence solicitors and counsel were as surprised by this development as anyone else. Before the defendant absconded he had provided instructions and they did not feel compelled, as frequently happens, to withdraw.

The prosecution then made an application for the trial to proceed in the defendant’s absence on the basis that, by notifying his lawyers of his intention not to attend, he had clearly ‘voluntarily absented himself’. Part 25 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, which governs applications for trial in absence, states:-

R25-2 (1) (b) ‘the court must not proceed if the defendant is absent, unless the court is satisfied that

(i) the defendant has waived the right to attend, and

(ii) the trial will be fair despite the defendant’s absence.

The first hurdle that the prosecution had to clear was to establish whether at the plea and trial preparation hearing (PTPH) the defendant had been warned that if he failed to attend (or, if in custody, refused to leave his cell) his trial might proceed in his absence.

Part 72 of the PTPH form (in which ‘Judicial Warnings’ are to be recorded as having been given) had been left blank and neither counsel appearing at the PTPH had made any independent note or endorsement that it had. The court DART recording was not able to establish that the warning had been given. It is likely to be every criminal practitioner’s experience that the length of a PTPH varies enormously, with some judges scrupulously going through every section of the form whilst others adopt a more ‘broad brush’ approach, perhaps due to pressure on court time. The experience in Jack Shepherd’s case highlights the necessity of prosecuting counsel being alive to the potential consequences if this warning is overlooked, particularly in PVL or other cases where defence counsel may only have been allowed a very short time in conference with clients in custody.

It could be argued that if a defendant is not given a ‘judicial warning’ as to the consequences of a failure to attend, any decision whether to ‘waive’ the right to do so was not ‘informed’. If it might not have been, could it be said any subsequent trial was ‘fair’?

In the event, this difficulty was overcome as the defendant’s legal representatives confirmed that upon announcing his intention not to attend his trial, the defendant had been warned, properly, of the consequences of his failure to do so.

As a result, the trial judge (the Common Serjeant) was satisfied that that the requirements of Crim PR r.25-2(1)(b) (i) had been met and went on to consider Crim PR r.25-2 (1) (b) (ii), namely whether the trial would be fair in his absence. He applied the guidance given by the House of Lords in R v Anthony Jones [2002] 1 AC (HL). He concluded a fair trial could take place.

It is perceived wisdom that to tell the jury that the defendant has voluntarily absented himself might be highly prejudicial. Does this rationale need revisiting?

Since Jones it has become standard practice for a jury trying an absent defendant to be told not to speculate as to why he or she is not in the dock. It is perceived wisdom that to tell the jury that the defendant has voluntarily absented himself might be highly prejudicial.

Does this rationale need revisiting? Given that a combination of Crim PR r.25-2 and the judgment in Jones renders the possibility of a trial in absence virtually nil unless a defendant has chosen to abscond, will it not be pretty obvious to a jury that that is the case, whatever direction they are given?

If a jury can, in appropriate circumstances, draw an adverse inference from a failure to answer questions in interview or, as will be developed below, a failure to give evidence at trial, is there any real difference if a defendant fails to attend his or her trial?

The argument for the status quo can be put that juries are constantly told not to speculate about all manner of things and this ought to be no different.

What happened next in Jack Shepherd’s case illustrates that this ought not always to be an inflexible rule. It emerged that Mr Shepherd, whilst not attending his trial, was, in fact, in fairly constant contact with his legal team and requesting regular updates on the proceedings whilst continuing to provide instructions. He declined, however, to divulge where he was.

As a result, when the prosecution closed its case and it was confirmed that the defendant was continuing to refuse to attend, an application was made for an ‘adverse inference’ direction to be given to the jury pursuant to section 35 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to the effect that, subject to the well known caveats, the jury might take his failure to give evidence on his own behalf into account when considering their verdict.

It was submitted that as the defendant was clearly following proceedings, albeit from afar, he was engaging with the trial process and ought not to be in a better position than a defendant who had faithfully complied with his conditions of bail, had attended throughout but chosen not to give (or call) any evidence.

The learned trial judge, it seems, was persuaded by this argument in principle but pointed out that the law required him to ask defence counsel whether the defendant had been advised that the time had now come when he could give evidence on his own behalf and that, if he chose not to do so, an adverse inference might be drawn from that failure.

As defence counsel was in contact with the defendant, either directly or indirectly through his instructing solicitor, there was no impediment, it was argued, for that advice to be given and for leading counsel for the defendant to reply to the judicial question in the affirmative.

Setting aside whether counsel could be ‘required’ to do this, which opens up another topic entirely, that is what was done and the jury were given the standard adverse inference direction.

At the conclusion of proceedings, the Common Serjeant announced his intention to write to the Lord Chief Justice and the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee to ask them to consider with some urgency whether a defendant who makes an informed decision to absent himself from his trial should be in a more advantageous position than a defendant who attends but chooses not to give evidence, and in particular, whether the ‘judicial warning’ given at the PTPH should be expanded to include a warning that an adverse inference might be drawn by from the consequence of no evidence being called through his voluntary absence.

One can see why it might seem grossly unfair…that an absent defendant can escape the drawing of an adverse inference if a jury are told not to speculate as to why he is not there, when the defendant who attends cannot.

One can see why it might seem grossly unfair, particularly where the absent defendant had proved sufficient instructions for his representatives to continue to represent him at trial, that an absent defendant can escape the drawing of an adverse inference if a jury are told not to speculate as to why he is not there, when the defendant who attends cannot.

It is difficult to justify the distinction but, as the law stands, unless the absent defendant decides to do as Jack Shepherd did, and remain in touch with his lawyers and thereby in a position to receive advice as to the trial process, the defendant who gives sufficient instructions to allow his case to be put but then absconds places himself in a better position than the defendant who attends throughout never intending to give evidence.

Whether these issues trouble the Court of Appeal or what response the Common Serjeant receives, remains to be seen.

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Has the time come for wholesale reform of the criminal justice system in England and Wales?

The news is beset by reports that the criminal justice system is breaking, damaged by decades of cutbacks to public legal services. There are calls for the review of disclosure failings in all kinds of CPS cases, not just rape and sexual assault; in April barristers took action seeking to draw attention not only to cuts to fees, but also to the deplorable state of courts and prisons. Other reports highlight overloaded lists; increasing delays; the growing numbers and plight of litigants in person; and the consequent risks to human rights protections.[1]

It is in this landscape that a further call for an inquisitorial system has been made by campaigner Richard Lomax.[2] Some may say not with a little irony given the context of Brexit, the inquisitorial system is the system commonly found in European jurisdiction and we in the English system have traditionally been the odd ones out. However, our justice system has always been admired the world over.

Richard Lomax is not the first to call for an inquisitorial system. When he was Home Secretary, Charles Clarke told a Commons committee that “a supervisory system and investigating magistrates’ regime is very superior to the system that we have in this country”. He conceded that his was a personal view, and that he doubted change would ever happen because of the conservatism of lawyers. A decade earlier, in 1993, a similar suggestion received little support when it was considered by a Royal Commission, and the faith many have in the adversarial system is firmly rooted.[3]

Richard Lomax is a veteran of both the CPS and defence practice who now campaigns for social charity Toynbee Hall (whose stated aim is to “work on the frontline of the struggle against poverty …. give some of the UK’s most deprived communities a voice, providing access to free advice and support and working together to tackle social injustice”). His discussion paper is one of the responses to the many problems
In his discussion paper, Lomax proposes that the solution to our present problems lie not with further attempts to persuade government to invest in the current system, but in the adoption of a cheaper inquisitorial system which would thereby do away with costly advocates and put case management squarely in the hands of a ‘juge d’instruction’.

The adversarial and inquisitorial systems reflect two very different philosophies of justice: in an inquisitorial system the aim of the criminal justice process is a search for the truth; in an adversarial system the purpose of the process is to rigorously test a prosecution case. The terms refer to the process only and do not denote any difference in substantive criminal law. The significant distinction is in the role of the judge or court. In the adversarial system the judge acts as a referee, ensuring procedural fairness between the prosecutor who initiates and pursues a case and the defender who represents a defendant, both of whom leave the fact-finding to a jury. In the inquisitorial system the judge or court can initiate a prosecution, identifies and causes actions to be taken to obtain evidence pointing either way, and ultimately finds facts. In Jones v National Coal Board [1957] 2 QB 55, Lord Denning expressed this dichotomy as follows:

“In the system of trial which we have evolved in this country, the judge sits to hear and determine the issues raised by the parties, not to conduct an investigation or examination on behalf of society at large, as happens, we believe, in some foreign countries. Even in England, however, a judge is not a mere umpire to answer the question “How’s that?” His object, above all, is to find out the truth, and to do justice according to law; and in the daily pursuit of it the advocate plays an honourable and necessary role. Was it not Lord Eldon L.C. who said in a notable passage that “truth is best discovered by powerful statements on both sides of the question”? … and Lord Greene M.R. who explained that justice is best done by a judge who holds the balance between the contending  parties without himself taking part in
their disputations? If a judge, said Lord Greene, should himself conduct the examination of witnesses, “he, so to speak, descends into the arena and is liable to have his vision clouded by
the dust of conflict”. (paras 63-4)

Recently however, aspects of the continental system have received judicial approval. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd speaking in 2014 about civil and family cases argued that an inquisitorial system “might be an improvement for litigants in person and secure a fair trial for all whilstddoing so within limited and reducing resources”.[4]

Sir Brian Leveson speaking at the Criminal Cases Review Commission Annual Lecture inApril 2018 suggested that the greater involvement of the prosecutor in the scrutiny and disclosure of unused material, as happens in the public prosecutorial system of France, might provide the independent oversight required of the presently plagued disclosure system.[5]

Whether a jurisdiction has an inquisitorial or adversarial process usually stems from the historical roots and developments of its legal system. While the former is commonly found in civil law systems and the latter in common law ones, it is possible for the two to co-exist. The US provides an example of a combined system where despite being a common law system which is typified by adversarial jury trials, uses an inquisitorial system for the less serious, administrative proceedings such as minor driving offences.

There are signs that the modern approach to the criminal justice process in England and Wales includes and has adopted features traditionally associated with the inquisitorial process. The difference is no longer as stark as historically it has been. Take as an example the obligation on both parties to ‘actively case manage’ and identify issues since the introduction of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act in 1996, followed by the Criminal Procedure Rules. The idea that the accused should co-operate in ensuring the Crown’s case is ready at trial was anathema to traditional adversarial practice, but it shows that we are moving closer to a system described by Lord Justice Auld in his review of English criminal procedure in 2010: “A criminal trial is not a game under which a guilty defendant should be provided with a sporting chance. It is a search for truth...”.[6]

Likewise, reforms to law contained within the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (‘YJCEA’), and the vulnerable witness training being provided to the Bar by the Inns of Court College of Advocacy also suggest a move towards the continental, inquisitorial model. Materials provided in assisting advocates to formulate the new-style non-leading questions include a lecture by Professor John Spencer in which the obvious adversarial defence objection is dealt with head on: “The Court of Appeal has disarmed the defendant by blunting the only weapon by which he can defend himself in such a case. Is this true or false? It depends, surely, what the purpose of a cross-examination is. Is a cross-examination an instrument intended to help the court produce an outcome in accordance with the truth? Or is (it) a sort of card in a game that enables an advocate to win his client’s case whether that client be innocent or guilty? Surely it is the first conception that is correct”.[7]

This view is also endorsed in case law, namely R v E [2011] EWCA Crim 3028, in which the defence advocate was directed in the presence of the jury “that he can and should ask any question to which he actually wants answers, but he should not involve himself in any cross-examination of [C] by challenging her in a difficult way”.

Having been piloted in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Leeds and Liverpool Crown Courts, prerecorded cross-examination of child witnesses under section 28 of the YJCEA is now being introduced more broadly. This is yet another longstanding feature of other jurisdictions; in Norway, questioning is conducted by a specially-trained police officer after consultation with the judge and counsel to ensure that all topics and contradictions have been identified; and in Austria, the judge conducts the questioning.[8]

So far these piecemeal introductions of features of the inquisitorial system into our traditionally adversarial system represent gradual change, creating some tensions around what the goal of our justice system now is; are we now seeking out the truth through trial, or are we testing the
evidence of the state?

If Richard Lomax’s radical proposal is ever seriously considered, the first obvious flaw is where the vast numbers of new judge recruits would come from. England and Wales is in the middle of a judicial recruitment crisis, with a third of High Court posts left unfilled after the most recent recruitment round. Perhaps, following the French model again, a new cadre of young investigatory magistrates can be trained as a separate strand of the legal profession. Perhaps they could be drawn from the pool of surplus advocates? Nonetheless, no system is without its risks and difficulties. The inquisitorial system carries inherent disadvantages, seen most recently in France where a widely publicised series of scandals drew attention to the fact that presiding over a case you have yourself spent 4 years investigating brings an obvious risk of bias. Under former Prime Minister Nicolas Sarcozy, investigating judges were criticised for misusing their own powers, serious miscarriages of justice and lengthy pre-trial detention,leading to a parliamentary inquiry which later underlined the need for young, inexperienced judges not to work alone; and criticism from the European Court of Human Rights.[9]

Whatever change may come, it is unlikely to be quickly. Charles Clarke was right to say lawyers are typically conservative and resistant to change. When in 2014, an intermediate court between the Magistrates’ and Crown Court was proposed, consisting of a District Judge sitting with two Magistrates, it was rejected as too radical.10 And Lomax’s proposal of changing the model for our justice system as a whole will surely remain firmly in the realms of academia.[10]


1 ‘We Stand By The Criminal Bar Association And The Criminal Bar’ 29 March 2018 https://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media-centre/news-and-press-releases/2018/march/bar-council-we-stand-by-the-criminal-bar-association-the-criminal-bar/, accessed 13 August 2018.
2 Guardian article ‘Adopt inquisitorial criminal justice system in UK, charity think piece urges’ 2 August 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/aug/02/adopt-inquisitorial-criminal-justice-system-in-uk-charity-urges, accessed 13 August 2018.
3 Telegraph article ‘Is there a case for the legal system to turn to European-style justice? 6 January 2014 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10553643/Is-there-a-case-for-the-legal-system-to-turn-to-European-style-justice.html, accessed 13 August 2018

4 The Right Hon. The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales ‘Reshaping Justice’
3 March 2014, delivered to the Organisation “Justice”.
5 Sir Brian Leveson President of the Queen’s Bench Division ‘The Pursuit of Criminal Justice’ 25 April 2018 Criminal Cases Review Commission Annual Lecture Faculty of Laws, University College London.

6 The Right Honourable Lord Justice Auld, ‘Review of the Criminal Courts of England and Wales’, September 2001 (para 54).
7 Professor John Spencer, Advocacy and the Vulnerable National Training Programme ‘Development of the Law’ (lecture transcript p7), delivered in 2017
8 Time to change the rules? Counsel magazine article by David Wurtzel in 2012

9 ‘A delicate judgement‘ The Economist 10 September 2009.
10 Telegraph article cited at 3 above.

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19 August 2018

Weekly Digest: 20 August 2018

This week’s digest considers one Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) judgment, the last handed down before the vacation. In it, the Court considered appeals against conviction for conspiracy to import cocaine; the basis of the appeal was that the trial judges had been wrong to admit evidence and that accordingly the convictions were unsafe. We also include a round up recent sentencing remarks.

R v. Knaggs and others [2018] EWCA Crim 1863

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Sweeny J on 07.08.18.

This was a complex appeal with a number of strands. The appellants, convicted for conspiracy to import cocaine, appealed against conviction on grounds relating to evidence which, so they said, would not have been admitted if the respondent had complied with its disclosure obligations. Consideration of the appeal involved analysis of disclosure and the appropriateness of special counsel. The appeal was dismissed; there was no material which the Crown should have disclosed that they already had not. Further, the judges had been entitled to admit the evidence they did. No article 6 issue arose on the court reviewing material the appellants had not had chance to see.


R v. Dawn Cranston, Denise Cranston, and Abigail Burling, Spencer J, Leeds Crown Court, 12 July 2018

The full remarks are available here.


R v. David Clark, Morris J, Birmingham Crown Court, 12 July 2018

The full remarks are available here.


R v. Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland, Cheema-Grubb J, Leeds Crown Court, 20 July 2018

The full remarks are available here.


Cuts to legal aid and courts make a mockery of equal access to justice


Government given two weeks to respond to latest Brexit legal challenge


England and Wales see fewest prosecutions since records began 




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13 August 2018

Weekly Digest: 13 August 2018

This week’s Digest contains an opinion of an Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union and two High Court judgments.  In Advocate General Szpunar’s opinion, he considered whether the UK’s notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU constitutes a ground for refusing to execute an EAW.  In the first High Court judgment, it considered whether a prisoner had a legitimate expectation that he would be repatriated to the UK to serve the remainder of his sentence only with his consent.  In the second judgment, the High Court considered whether the process for appointing Parole Board members and their tenure once appointed are sufficiently independent of the executive.

Minister for Justice and Equality v RO – Case C-327/18 PPU

The opinion, which is available here, was delivered by Advocate General Szpunar on 7 August 2018.

In 2016 the UK issued two EAWs in respect of RO for the purpose of prosecuting him for murder, arson and rape. RO was arrested in Ireland and resisted surrender to the UK on the basis of, amongst other things, issues relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The High Court in Ireland ruled against RO on all of his points other than those relating to the UK’s withdrawal. The High Court asked the CJEU whether, in light of the UK having given notice of its intention to withdraw from the EU and the uncertainty as to the arrangements which will be put in place after its withdrawal, the court was required to decline to surrender a person to the UK whose surrender would otherwise be required. In his opinion, Advocate General Szpunar proposed that the CJEU find that the EAW system should continue to apply for as long as the UK is a Member State.

R (on the application of McShane) v Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWHC 2049 (Admin)

The judgment, which is available here, was delivered by Walker J on 31 July 2018.

The claimant was a British citizen serving a sentence for drugs offences in Portugal. He withdrew his consent to be transferred to a UK prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. The court agreed that in the circumstances of the case, the claimant had a legitimate expectation that he would not be repatriated to the UK without his consent, despite the fact that Decision 2008/909 of the Council of the EU meant that the prisoner’s consent was no longer required.

R (on the application of Wakenshaw) v Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWHC 2089 (Admin)

The judgment, which is available here, was delivered by Mostyn J on 7 August 2018.

The claimant applied for permission to seek a declaration that the period of appointment and tenure for Parole Board members failed the test of objective independence. He also sought an interim injunction that would halt the selection of a new Chair until the relevant issues were addressed. The court agreed that the precarious nature of the tenure of Parole Board members breached the principle of judicial independence. The court refused to grant the interim injunction sought on the basis that it would be too disruptive.

English courts trial mental health referrals for vulnerable offenders

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8 August 2018

Weekly Digest: 6 August 2018

This week’s Digest considers four judgments. The first was handed down by the Supreme Court and concerned an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate and rights under article 8 ECHR. The remaining three are judgments of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The first of these addressed whether the entrapment principles which apply to state actors apply to non-state actors; the second whether a conviction for a drugs offence was unsafe after the law on the treatment of victims of human trafficking had changed; and the third whether findings of contempt of court were rendered unsafe by virtue of the fact that the appropriate procedure was not followed.

R (AR) v. Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and anor [2018] UKSC 47

The judgment is available here. Lord Carnwath gave the judgment, with which the rest of the court agreed.

The issue in this appeal was whether the disclosure of an acquittal without full explanation of the evidence at trial on an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate was a proportionate interference with the appellant’s rights under article 8 ECHR. The Supreme Court held that it was; in the instant case, it was proportionate to disclose the acquittal when the appellant was applying for a job as a lecturer. The Supreme Court also commented on the proper role of an appellate court in reviewing a lower court’s decision as to proportionality; an appeal is a review, not a rehearing, and the test is whether the judge erred in principle in reaching their conclusion.


R v. TL [2018] EWCA Crim 1821

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Burnett of Maldon CJ on 31.07.18.

The issue in this case was whether the judge, in staying proceedings in the Crown Court against TL, had erred in applying the entrapment principles articulated by the House of Lords in R v. Loosely [2001] UKHL 53; [2001] 1 WLR 2060 to non-state actors. The Court of Appeal concluded that the judge had erred; the test was essentially whether the conduct of the non-state actor would compromise the court’s integrity.


R v. GS [2018] EWCA Crim 1824

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Gross on 31.07.18.

The issue in this appeal was whether a conviction for a drugs offence was rendered unsafe by the fact that, as a victim of human trafficking, the applicant had been acting under duress. The application for leave failed; although the Court accepted that the applicant was a victim of human trafficking, there was no basis on which it could be said her conviction was unsafe. Her account of being under duress had, essentially,  been rejected at trial and there was no material change in the applicant’s circumstances.


Re Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) [2018] EWCA Crim 1856

The judgment, available here, was handed down on 01.08.18 by Lord Burnett of Maldon CJ.

The issue in this case was whether failure to follow the appropriate procedure in Part 48 of the Criminal Procedure Rules in contempt proceedings meant that the findings of contempt had to be quashed. It was held that the failure gave rise to safeguards being overlooked that occasioned real prejudice to the appellant. The matter was ordered to be reheard.

Louis Mably QC appeared as Advocate to the Court.


Defendants ‘gaming system’ to get domestic violence cases dropped


Cut to legal aid fees for evidence work ruled unlawful


Adopt inquisitorial justice system, says Toynbee Hall paper


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Mark Weekes
Simon Ray
Mark Weekes and Simon Ray
7 August 2018

Case Comment: the Court of Appeal’s decision in Tommy Robinson’s case

The decision of the Court of Appeal (Lord Burnett CJ, Turner and McGowan JJ) to quash the finding of contempt in the case of R v Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (alias Tommy Robinson) [2018] EWCA Crim 1856, in which Louis Mably QC appeared as Advocate to the Court, marks the most recent instalment of this high-profile case that has rarely been out of the headlines since he was first jailed in May. Hailed by his supporters and some sections of the media as a victory for free speech (the phrase is used only twice in the transcript, and played no part in the ultimate decision of the Court of Appeal), the judgment examines an area of criminal practice and procedure that it is apparent contains pitfalls even for experienced practitioners. Not for the first time, a failure to have proper regard to the Criminal Procedure Rules, in this case Rule 48, resulted in serious errors being made and a first instance decision being set aside.

As is well known, on the morning of 25th May 2018, Robinson attended Leeds Crown Court. There, he recorded a video of himself standing outside the court building which he livestreamed on the internet via Facebook. The recording, which lasted for about an hour and a half, concerned a trial which was the subject of a postponement order under section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.The order prohibited the publication of any report of the proceedings until after the conclusion of that trial and of a related trial which was yet to take place. Robinson’s ‘report’ (his journalistic credentials are unclear) was recorded close to the entrance used by the defendants and jurors. In it, he referred to the trial, the identity of the defendants, the charges against them and to charges which had not been proceeded with against some of the defendants. He had confronted some of the defendants as they arrived at court. His ‘report’ also referred to the supposed religion of the defendants, the ethnicity of the alleged victims, the costs of the prosecutions and questioned why publication was prohibited. This was not the first occasion upon which he had engaged in this sort of activity. He was the subject of a suspended sentence of 3 months’ imprisonment, imposed by a judge at Canterbury Crown Court in May 2017, in respect of similar behaviour at a trial held there.

Once Robinson’s activity came to his attention, the judge at Leeds Crown Court commenced summary contempt proceedings of his own motion the same day. Having invoked the procedure, and Robinson having ‘admitted’ the contempt, he heard from Robinson’s counsel in mitigation and proceeded to sentence Robinson that afternoon to an immediate term of imprisonment of 13 months. This term comprised 10 months for the contempt at Leeds consecutive to the activated 3 month suspended sentence from Canterbury.

The appeal to the Court of Appeal was initially only in respect of sentence, but it became apparent that a number of procedural flaws existed in the way that the case had been dealt with at Leeds. During the appeal, criticisms were levelled by Robinson’s counsel at the process before the Canterbury court too. The Court of Appeal considered these to be without merit. Notably a criticism that Robinson had not been provided with a statement of the particulars of the alleged contempt prior to it being found was given short shrift in the light of an advice from his counsel (in respect of which privilege had been waived) from which it was apparent that a deliberate tactical decision had been made not to seek greater particularity. The Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal against the substantive decision and the sentence, save to amend what had been recorded as a suspended sentence of imprisonment to a suspended committal for contempt.

The chief complaint made in respect of the Leeds matter – that the judge had been too hasty in dealing with and concluding the proceedings – was considered to be well-founded. As the Court noted (per Lord Burnett CJ at para 60 of the judgment): “In contrast to the procedure followed in Canterbury, where the appellant had over a week to secure representation and to prepare his response to the allegations against him, the appellant at Leeds was commencing a term of imprisonment of thirteen months within five hours of the conduct complained of. Such haste gave rise to a real risk that procedural safeguards would be overlooked, the nature of the contempt alleged would remain inadequately scrutinised and that points of significant mitigation would be missed. Those risks materialised.”

Put simply, there was no particular need for the judge to do as he did. Robinson had offered to, and did, remove the offending material from the Facebook page. This removed the immediate risk to the fairness of the proceedings that were at that stage ongoing. Once that had been done, there was no pressing need for the contempt proceedings to continue immediately. A more appropriate course would have been to adjourn to permit the hearing to proceed on a better informed basis.

In swiftly embarking on the summary procedure, as opposed to inviting the Attorney General to take contempt proceedings, the judge had failed properly to particularise which aspects of Robinson’s ‘report’ breached the postponement order. Of greater concern was the consequence that, while Robinson had ‘admitted’ the contempt (and the Court of Appeal was in no doubt that some of the material did breach the postponement order) it was unclear what to what his purported admission related. Some of the more potentially inflammatory material may have constituted a free-standing contempt in its own right, but did not breach the relevant postponement order.

A further difficulty from the speed at which the proceedings were conducted was the absence of time for Robinson’s counsel to marshal mitigation and, in particular, to ensure that the Court had proper information concerning his family situation, something that could have been obtained through a pre-committal report. Had this been a criminal case, the Court would have been obliged, unless it thought it unnecessary, to obtain and consider a pre-sentence report. The Court of Appeal observed that “it would be unusual, to say the least, for a man with three young children to be sent to prison at a first hearing without some independent inquiry into his family’s circumstances”. The level of detail which could be provided to the court concerning the potential impact of a custodial term or its duration upon the appellant’s wife and children was very limited indeed as a result. Furthermore, there was no opportunity for his legal representatives to obtain support from third parties in the form of character references or the like.

Last, but not least, the fact that the Robinson’s sentence was expressed as being a sentence of imprisonment under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 as opposed to a committal for contempt meant that he was wrongly categorised within the prison system (those committed for contempt enjoy the same privileges as unconvicted persons). By categorising him as serving a sentence of imprisonment, the judge’s order had the effect of depriving Robinson of privileges relating to visits by his doctor or dentist, the freedom to choose what clothes to wear and the absence of restrictions on prison visits and the sending and receipt of letters. It also affected the regime upon his release (those committed for contempt are released automatically after half of the sentence; those who are imprisoned are subject to release on licence with the attendant risk of recall).

It should not be thought that the Court of Appeal’s judgment will inevitably mean that all matters of contempt will now have to be dealt with less speedily. Lord Burnett CJ remarked that “a sense of proportion must be retained. Sudden outbursts of misconduct in the face of the court leading to a very short period of detention will not normally merit such circumspection”. However practitioners faced with the threat of such proceedings would be well advised to be familiar with Rule 48 of the Criminal Procedure Rules, and, where appropriate, to invite any judge considering embarking upon a hearing immediately to take time before doing so. Indeed it may be appropriate to invite the court to consider whether it should proceed by way of a referral to the Attorney General rather than the summary procedure. Lord Burnett CJ quoted with apparent approval the words of Lawton LJ in in Balogh v St Albans Crown Court [1975] Q.B. 73 at page 93:

In my judgment [the] summary and draconian jurisdiction should only be used for the purpose of ensuring that a trial in progress or about to start can be brought to a proper and dignified end without disturbance and with a fair chance of a just verdict or judgment.”

Practitioners should also take heed that the Court of Appeal was less than impressed at the failure of all parties before the court in Leeds to have proper regard to relevant sections of Blackstone’s and Archbold, noting “there is much material readily to hand to enable all concerned to navigate these unfamiliar waters and whenever the circumstances allow the short amount of time needed for review of that material, should be taken”. To that corpus of work should be added the decision in Yaxley-Lennon itself, since the judgment contains, at its conclusion, a valuable restatement and summary of the relevant principles to be considered when considering sentence for such matters.

On that point, while Robinson has now been released on bail, time will tell whether he may yet be required to return to custody: the Court of Appeal directed that the matter be reheard before the Recorder of London as soon as possible.




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31 July 2018

Weekly Digest: 30 July 2018

This week’s Digest considers four judgments. The first is from the Supreme Court, and relates to s. 90C of the Representation of the People Act 1983. The second and third were handed down by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and relate, respectively, to the availability of the defence of self-defence under s. 76 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and the imposition of consecutive sentences where multiple deaths are caused by an instance of dangerous driving. The fourth, a Divisional Court judgment, is an appeal against an extradition order. 

R v. Mackinlay and ors [2018] UKSC 42

The judgment, available here, was handed down on 25.07.18. The judgment was given by Lord Hughes.

The question certified by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) for consideration by the Supreme Court related to whether, under the Representation of the People Act 1983, election expenses offered at a discount or free of charge only fell to be declared as ‘election expenses’ if they had been authorised by the candidate, his election agent or some other authorised individual. The Supreme Court held that there is no room in the statutory regime for the added requirement of authorisation.


R v. Taj [2018] EWCA Crim 1743

The judgment available here, was handed down by Sir Brian Leveson P on 24.07.18.

In this appeal, the Court considered the wording of s. 76(5) Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which provides that the defence of self-defence is not available where a mistaken belief is attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily induced. The Court held that the word ‘attributable’ extended the scope of s. 76(5) to encompass both (a) intoxication at the time of the incident and (b) a state of mind immediately and proximately consequent upon earlier drink or drug-taking.


R v. Brown [2018] EWCA Crim 1775

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Sir Brian Leveson P on 26.07.18.

This was a reference under s. 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 that a sentence of 9 years and four months for driving whilst disqualified and causing two deaths by dangerous driving was unduly lenient. The reference succeeded; the sentence was found to be unduly lenient on the basis that the judge had erred in selecting too low a starting point. The first ground of challenge, that the judge was wrong to impose concurrent sentences and should have imposed consecutive ones for the offences of causing death by dangerous driving, was rejected.


 Tifrac v. Romanian Judicial Authority [2018] EWHC 1909 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Mr Justice Ouseley on 25.07.18.

This was an appeal against an extradition order on the grounds that the two EAWs, pursuant to which the appellant was ordered to be extradited, were deficient such that the appellant should be discharged. The appeal was dismissed; the particulars of the EAWs were adequately supplemented by the further information received from the Romanian judicial authority and the issue of the overlapping sentences between the EAWs could be solved in Romania.


Cannabis-based medicines get green light as UK eases rules


Burglaries rise while criminal charges fall


Renew treason laws to jail enemies of the state for life, thinktank says


Max Hill QC appointed new DPP



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European Production and Preservation Orders

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission issued a proposal for the introduction of ‘European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters’. The aim is to make it easier and faster for police and judicial authorities to obtain electronic evidence for investigations or prosecutions, including emails or documents stored on the cloud. As the proposal appears to suggest, existing mechanisms for the sharing of evidence are not fit for the modern world of social media, messaging services and other communication ‘apps’. The problems this technology creates for investigators and prosecutors are obvious.

The EU proposal

A European Production Order would allow a judicial authority in a Member State to request electronic evidence directly from a service provider offering services in the European Union, and established or represented in another Member State. This would apply regardless of the actual location of the data. The provider would be obliged to respond within 10 days (reduced to within 6 hours in cases of emergency).

A European Preservation Order would allow a judicial authority in a Member State to oblige a service provider to preserve specific data, so that it may be requested later via mutual legal assistance, a European Investigation Order, or a European Production Order.

There is at present no timetable for the Regulations to be brought into effect. It is highly likely any implementation would be after ‘Brexit’ in March 2019. In any event, as this would be a ‘Freedom, Security and Justice’ measure, the UK would have had to ‘opt-in’ to the Regulation.

The UK’s White Paper

The UK Government’s recent White Paper pledged to “maintain existing operational capabilities”, including “practical cooperation to investigate serious criminality and terrorism” and “existing tools and measures”.

However, it says the UK will no longer be part of the EU’s common policies on security, justice and home affairs:

“Instead, the Government is proposing a new security partnership that maintains close cooperation – because as the world continues to change, so too do the threats the UK and the EU both face.”

In light of these comments, it might be thought that the UK government would be keen to be a part of the new scheme. Without a right to opt-in, however, it will be for the EU to decide whether it is permitted to do so and what (if anything) the UK will need to do in return.

Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill

It appears that the Government is preparing to go ahead on its own in this area, or at least to prepare the way for similar orders to be available in the UK, should there be a separate arrangement between the UK and the EU in the future.

The Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Lords on 11 July 2018, proposes to give the courts powers to make orders very similar to European Production Orders. Upon an application by an “appropriate officer”, a judge may only make the order if satisfied of several conditions.

One of those conditions is that there must be reasonable grounds for believing that the person against whom the order is sought operates or is based in a country outside the UK that is a party to, or participates in, an international co-operation arrangement specified in the order.

Evidently the Government is anticipating international agreements to facilitate the recovery of electronic documents stored abroad. Without being able to benefit from Electronic Production Orders, the UK is bound to require such an agreement with the EU, but there is no telling whether (or when) it would materialise.

Moreover, there does not appear to be any intention at present to replicate the European Preservation Order. Given the ease with which electronic documents can be disposed of, and the fact that mobile phone companies in the EU delete their data relatively quickly, could this be a missed opportunity for the Government?

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23 July 2018

Weekly Digest: 23 July 2018

This week’s Digest considers five judgments. The first two were handed down by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and relate to the alternative verdict of infanticide under the Infanticide Act 1938 and an application for permission to appeal against confiscation orders. The remaining three were handed down by the Divisional Court. The first of these deals with an appeal against a refusal by the CCRC to refer a case to the Court of Appeal; the issue in the second was s. 137 of the Highways Act 1980; and the final case deals with the adequacy of two EAWs and s. 2(4)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003.

R v. Turnstill [2018] EWCA Crim 1696

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Treacy on 19.07.18.

The issue in this appeal was whether an alternative verdict of infanticide should have been left to the jury under the Infanticide Act 1938. The Court considered that there was evidence enough for consideration by the jury and, accordingly, quashed the appellant’s conviction and ordered a retrial. s. 1(1) of the Infanticide Act did not preclude other mental illness playing a causative role in the killing of a child; the key point was that the disturbance of the mind resulting from the birth of the child was a substantial or operative cause.


R v. Ghulam and others [2018] EWCA Crim 1691

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Holroyde on 20.07.18.

This was an application for permission to appeal, with the appropriate extension of time, against two confiscation orders on the ground that, due to fundamental issues with the way counsel conducted the confiscation proceedings, the orders should be set aside. The applications failed; there was no basis on which it could be argued different representation would have obtained a more favourable outcome for the applicants.


R (Norman Joseph Jones) v. Criminal Cases Review Commission [2018] EWHC 1798 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Mr Justice William Davis on 13.07.18.

This was a renewed application for permission to apply for judicial review of a decision of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) for failing to refer the claimant’s case to the Court of Appeal. The basis for the application was that the decision of the CCRC was irrational as they had failed to pursue ‘obvious’ lines of inquiry in relation to two witnesses. The application failed; the Court refused to interfere with the CCRC’s discretion as to how it deals with individual strands of the case.


Buchanan v. The Crown Prosecution Service [2018] EWHC 1773 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Hickenbottom on 10.07.18.

The issue in this case was whether the Crown Court had been right to find that the appellant’s use of the mutli-lane highway around Parliament Square to protest had amounted to an obstruction for the purposes of s. 137 Highways Act 1980. The Court held that the Crown Court had been correct, and the appellant had unlawfully obstructed highway; his use posed a serious risk to the health and safety of others.

Rosalind Earis appeared for the respondent.


M and B v. Preliminary Investigation Tribunal of Napoli, Italy and others [2018] EWHC 1808 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Mr Justice Nicol on 16.07.18.

This was an appeal against extradition on two grounds: the first was that the EAWs failed to adequately specify the offences in respect of which extradition was sought, contrary to s. 2(4)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003, and the second was that extradition would be contrary to their article 8 ECHR rights. The appeal was allowed on the first ground; the EAWs were wholly deficient in that they failed to make clear for which offences the appellants’ extradition was sought.


Cliff Richard wins £210,000 in damages over BBC privacy case


Criminal Solicitors in England and Wales challenge cut to fees


DNA tests on asylum seekers dubious in law, Home Office admits


Lack of legal aid puts asylum seekers’ lives at risk, charity warns


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Making applications to the ECtHR: clearing the admissibility hurdle

Around 95% of applications to the European Court of Human Rights are declared inadmissible or struck out without substantive consideration on their merits. This may be because an application is obviously unmeritorious (‘manifestly ill-founded’), or alternatively as a consequence of some unsurmounted procedural or jurisdictional hurdle. Given the Court’s heavy caseload, the numbers of applications resolved in this way are vast. In 2017 alone, 70,356 individual applications met this fate.

It is obviously unfortunate for an applicant, who otherwise might have prospects of succeeding, to be refused substantive consideration by reason of a (possibly avoidable) procedural or jurisdictional flaw. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a check list setting out the main features of the Court’s admissibility requirements[1], which, if not satisfied, could lead an unwary applicant to a finding of inadmissibility. It is hoped that this will assist future applicants in preparing properly sustainable cases before the Court.

  • Does the applicant qualify to bring an application, that is, does he or she fall into one of the categories mentioned in Article 34 of the Convention?

An application may be brought where the alleged violation took place within the jurisdiction of the Respondent State in accordance with Article 1 of the Convention. Applications may only be brought by living persons or on their behalf. A deceased person may not make an application, even through a representative. Organisations may apply to the Court, as long as they are non-governmental organisations.

  • Can the applicant show that he or she is the victim of an alleged violation of the Convention? 

In order to demonstrate ‘victim status’ for the purpose of compliance with Article 34 of the Convention, the applicant must be ‘directly or indirectly affected’ by the alleged violation. Examples of ‘indirectly affected’ applicants who may still pursue a complaint are: (i) a close relative of a person whose death is alleged to engage the State’s responsibility under Article 2 of the Convention, or; (ii) the alleged legal heir to a now deceased victim of an alleged violation. In relation to companies, no complaint may be brought in respect of a violation alleged to have occurred in proceedings to which the proposed applicant was not a party, even if the applicant was a shareholder and/or director of a company which was a party to proceedings. Where a person has accepted a final settlement from the Respondent State in the domestic proceedings underlying the application, they may lose their victim status – or standing – for the purpose of making an application to the Court.

  • Has the application been introduced to the Court within the 6 month time limit for applying to the Court from the final domestic judicial decision in the process of exhaustion of domestic remedies (Article 35(1) of the Convention)?

The date on which time starts to run will vary according to the facts of a particular case. Generally, the six month period will begin on the day after the date on which the applicant was informed of the final decision in the domestic proceedings, or the decision was pronounced in public. Where the alleged violation was continuous (such as alleged unlawful detention), the time limit may start to run from the date on which the violation ceased. The deadline expires six calendar months later, regardless of the actual duration of those calendar months. The date of introduction of an application for the purposes of Article 35(1) of the Convention is the date on which a properly completed application form is sent to the Court (rule 47 of the Rules of Court).

  • Have domestic remedies been exhausted prior to the application being made to the Court (Article 35(1) of the Convention)?

The Court requires applicants to have raised the alleged violation with the national authorities – principally the domestic Courts – with a view to enabling those authorities to prevent or provide redress for alleged violations. The violation should be raised at all levels permitted by the domestic law machinery. For example, in proceedings in England and Wales, a Convention complaint raised unsuccessfully by way of a civil judicial review claim should be challenged by an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), and, if that appeal was entertained and dismissed, on appeal to the Supreme Court. It would not be acceptable for the purpose of Article 35(1) of the Convention to launch an application on the basis of a High Court ruling on a judicial review claim, against which there had been no attempt to appeal. That said, applicants are only required to pursue remedies that are accessible, capable of providing redress and which offer a reasonable prospect of success: exceptional or discretionary remedies are not required to be pursued. The exhaustion rule has been described as one that is ‘golden rather than cast in stone’. It is applied with a certain flexibility and the Court will not always require the Convention right to be explicitly raised in domestic proceedings provided that the complaint is raised ‘at least in substance’.

[1]The Court has produced a detailed guide, entitled ‘Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria’, which is a very useful tool to enable any potential applicant to understand the contours of the Court’s admissibility criteria.


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19 July 2018

Weekly Digest: 16 July 2018

This week’s Digest considers four judgments. The first is from the Supreme Court and considers the meaning of the phrase ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ in s. 17(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000. The second is a judgment of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and dealt with an application for leave to appeal against sentence. The third, from the same court, addressed the correct approach to sentencing for an offence under Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Finally, we include a judgment in which the Divisional Court considered whether making a false statement involving international terrorism was akin to the crime in this jurisdiction of perverting the course of public justice.

R v. Lane and Letts (AB and CD) [2018] UKSC 36

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Hughes on 11.07.18.

The issue in this appeal was the construction of the phrase ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ in s. 17(b) of the Terrorism Act 2000. The appellants are charged with an offence, contrary to s. 17, of sending money overseas, or arranging to do so, when they knew or had reasonable cause to believe it would, or might, be used for terrorism. The Supreme Court unanimously decided that the test, objectively assessing the information available to the accused, was whether the accused had reasonable grounds to suspect the money might be used for terrorism.

Louis Mably QC and Alison Morgan appeared for the Crown.


R v. Jones [2018] EWCA Crim 1599

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Mr Justice William Davis on 10.07.18.

This was an application for leave to appeal against conviction on the basis of fresh alibi evidence which showed that the applicant was not at the scene of the murder. The application failed; the evidence, which was in the form of various witness statements, was devoid of all credibility and, further, evidence adduced by the prosecution tended to show it was false.

Duncan Atkinson QC appeared for the Crown.


R v. Butt [2018] EWCA Crim 1617

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Burnett of Maldon CJ on 10.07.18.

This was an appeal against sentence on the basis that it was manifestly excessive. The appellant had been convicted of four counts of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and had received a fine of £250,000, a curfew requirement, and an order for prosecution costs. The Court allowed the appeal in part and a fine of £150,000 was substituted instead; no alteration was made to the curfew requirement or the order for costs.


Government of the United States of America v. Dempsey [2018] EWHC 1724 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Mr Justice William Davis on 06.07.18.

This was an appeal against an order of the District Judge discharging the respondent on the grounds that the offence for which he was sought by the US Government was not an extraditable offence. The appeal was allowed; the offence in respect of which the respondent was sought, making a false statement involving international terrorism, was akin to the offence in this jurisdiction of perverting the course of public justice.

David Perry QC and Richard Evans appeared for the appellant.


Police ‘decriminalising cannabis’ as prosecutions fall away


UK counter-terror bill risks criminalising curiosity


£7m to be spent on phones in prison cells to stem the flow of illegal mobiles



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Simon Ray
Simon Ray
9 July 2018

Case comment: SFO v Saleh [2018] EWHC 1012

In SFO v Saleh, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the SFO in an appeal against a property freezing order for £4.4 million. This case illustrates the willingness and ability of the SFO to obtain civil recovery orders against property under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, where the only connection to the UK is that the money was held in a UK bank account.

  • What was the background?

The £4.4million represented the proceeds of the sale of the defendant’s 800,000 shares in a Canadian natural resources company, GEI. The defendant was a citizen of Chad and Canada. Her husband was the former Chadian deputy ambassador to the US and Canada. The High Court upheld the SFO’s assertion that the original allocation of the shares to the defendant for a nominal sum, $800, was part of a corrupt arrangement to induce officials in Chad to enter into a production-sharing contract for oil with GEI. It is notable that in criminal proceedings for corruption in Canada, it was not part of the prosecution case, leading to an agreed basis of plea from GEI, that the corrupt inducement included the issue of the shares to Mrs Saleh. The SFO also made clear to the High Court that their case did not require any guilty state of mind on the part of the defendant.

In early 2013, following the sentencing of GEI in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian authorities issued an application for forfeiture of the shares issued to Mrs Saleh and two other people. However, in April 2014 the Canadians withdrew the applications for forfeiture against the three shareholders. The Canadian public prosecutor was unwilling to disclose to the SFO the reasons for the withdrawal without the SFO entering into a non-disclosure agreement which, “properly and understandably” the SFO felt unable to do. Subsequent to the withdrawal, a Swiss company, Glencore, acquired all of GEI’s issued share capital at the price of £5.50 per share. This included the 800,000 shares held by the defendant. The exact basis for the SFO’s decision to proceed against Mrs Saleh is not made clear. However, the SFO obviously considered that the money clearly represented the proceeds of unlawful conduct. It may also be relevant that the US authorities seized the proceeds of another individual’s 3.2million GEI shares.

  • What were the issues that the court had to decide?

The High Court had to resolve whether a) the issue of shares by GEI to the defendant constituted unlawful conduct under Canadian law; b) whether GEI’s conduct would have constituted a criminal offence in the UK; and c) whether the defendant was able to rely on a ‘good faith defence’ under section 266(4)(a) of the 2002 Act.

  • How did the court resolve those issues?

The Court had little trouble concluding that GEI must have issued such a valuable stake in its business to Mrs Saleh for such a low price in order to induce a Chadian public official to influence decisions in the Republic of Chad. Kerr J stated that, “It cannot sensibly be suggested that it was done for any bona fide commercial reason nor that it was simply a gesture of gratuitous generosity to Mrs Saleh”.

Similarly, the Court was quick to conclude that the dual criminality requirement was easily satisfied in this case. Notwithstanding that the Bribery Act 2010 was not in force at the time of the issue of the shares to the defendant, the Court found that the conduct of GEI would “plainly constitute an offence”under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

As far as the defendant’s assertion that she acquired the shares in good faith is concerned, essentially the Court concluded that her evidence that she bought the shares on the coincidental suggestion of a friend, without the initial knowledge of her husband, was simply not credible.

It may be of interest that even if the Court had accepted Mrs Saleh’s assertion that she bought the shares in good faith, whilst she would have also satisfied the additional requirements in sections 266(4)(b) and (d) to have taken steps which would mean a recovery order would be detrimental to her, the Court would nonetheless have concluded that it would have been just and equitable to make the order (see sections 266(3)(a) and 266(6)).

The Court left unresolved the competing arguments about the meaning of the word ‘detriment’ in section 266.

This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Corporate Crime on 25 May 2018. 

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8 July 2018

Weekly Digest: 9 July 2018

This week’s digest considers one judgment of the Supreme Court and four of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). In the Supreme Court judgment, the issue was whether judicial review proceedings challenging a decision not to prosecute were ‘proceedings in a criminal cause or matter’ under s. 6(11) of the Security and Justice Act 2013. The first of the Court of Appeal judgments considered costs; the second whether fresh evidence should be received by the Court; the third whether a trial judge had erred in admitting certain material in evidence; and the fourth was an appeal against sentence which considered 10 cases.

Belhaj v Director of Public Prosecutions [2018] UKSC 33

The judgment, available here, was handed down on 04.07.18. The lead judgment was given by Lady Hale.

The issue in this appeal was whether judicial review proceedings, in which the claimant sought to challenge a decision of the DPP not to prosecute, were ‘proceedings in a criminal cause or matter’ within the meaning of s. 6(11) of the Justice and Security Act 2013. By a bare majority, the Supreme Court decided that they were: a challenge to a decision not to prosecute was as much of a criminal matter as the original decision not to prosecute.


Najib and Sons Ltd v Crown Prosecution Service [2018] EWCA Crim 1554

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Leggatt on 03.07.18.

This was an application for costs under Regulation 3 of the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986 on the basis that the CPS’s conduct, in pursing the charge, constituted ‘an unnecessary or improper act or omission’. The application succeeded: when the Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal, the CPS should have been aware that a failure to identify a proper basis for the charge would result in the possibility of a costs order against them.


R v Gordon [2018] EWCA Crim 1555

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Treacy on 04.07.18.

The issue in this case was whether the Court should receive new evidence which tended to show that, at the time the applicant committed the offence, the applicant had an autism spectrum disorder. This, in the applicant’s submission, should have formed part of the judge’s direction to the jury on various issues in the case. The application was refused; the evidence was not of sufficient strength to convince the Court that any disorder, at the time of the incident, was a significant part of his psychological makeup.


R v Alamgir [2018] EWCA Crim 1553

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Treacy on 04.07.18.

The appellants had been convicted of encouraging support for ISIS, a proscribed organisation. They appealed against conviction on the basis that the judge had been wrong to admit in evidence speeches they made, which went beyond the period specified in the indictment. The appeal failed: the judge had been correct as this other material was necessary to allow the jury to assess the appellants’ views and their willingness to express violent views to others. One of the appellants also renewed two further grounds of appeal relating to (i) jury direction and (ii) the rights guaranteed by Articles 9 and 10 ECHR; this also failed.


R v Mayers [2018] EWCA Crim 1552

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Treacy on 04.07.18.

In this case, the Court considered 10 appeals against sentence for offences of conspiracy to rob. The appellants were part of a group of individuals who had launched a violent attack on a travellers’ camp. The appellants contended that the judge, in sentencing, had erred in applying the wrong guideline. This succeeded: the judge should have followed the guideline for robbery in a dwelling. All 10 sentences were substituted for shorter terms than those originally imposed.


Lady Hale calls for Mental Health Act reforms


People risk unjust prison sentences due to lack of court healthcare


Courts to get punishment guidelines for revenge porn offences


Former detainees call for inquiry into UK role in torture and jailing


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2 July 2018

Weekly Digest: 2 July 2018

This week’s Digest considers one judgment of the Court of Appeal and one judgment of the High Court.  In the first the Court of Appeal considered whether the trial judge ought to have left loss of control to the jury.  In the second the court considered whether section 2(5)(b) of the Extradition Act 2003 operates as a bar to the extradition of a person who is sought to face a hearing whether to activate a suspended sentence.

R v Christian [2018] EWCA Crim 1344

The judgment, which is unavailable, was handed down by Simon LJ on 25 January 2018.

The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge was correct not to leave loss of control to the jury and gave guidance on the applicable principles.  The court agreed with the trial judge’s conclusion that there was no evidence to establish the existence of the final limb of the partial defence.


Murin v Czech Republic [2018] EWHC 1532 (Admin)

The judgment, which is unavailable, was handed down by Green J on 19 June 2018.

The appellant appealed against the District Judge’s decision to extradite him to the Czech Republic on the basis that section 2(5)(b) of the Extradition Act 2003 operated as a bar to the extradition of a person who was sought to face a hearing whether to activate a suspended sentence. The Divisional Court dismissed the appeal and held that there was no provision in Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA which excepted requests for the extradition of convicted persons sought to face a hearing to determine whether a prior sentence should be activated.

Police study UK rendition report amid pressure to investigate

UK Supreme Court to get third female justice

Several new Lord and Lady Justices of Appeal appointed

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25 June 2018

Weekly Digest: 25 June 2018

This week’s Digest considers three judgments of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The first is an appeal relating to the Court’s jurisdiction to re-open a final determination; the issue in the second was whether a trial judge’s directions were sufficiently deficient to disturb the safety of the appellant’s convictions for various sexual offences; and the third is an appeal relating to an amount agreed by the parties. 

R v. Rostami [2018] EWCA Crim 1383

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Sir Brian Leveson on 19.06.18.

The applicant sought to reopen a final determination of the full court refusing leave to appeal against his convictions on the basis that serious procedural irregularities, namely that counsel had not been notified of the date of the hearing, caused real injustice to the applicant. The application was refused; any procedural errors were the fault of the applicant and his advisers and the conditions required to exercise the jurisdiction identified in Yasain [2016] QB 146 were not satisfied.


R v. Guy [2018] EWCA Crim 1393

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Simon on 21.06.18.

This was an appeal against convictions for a number of sexual offences involving a child on the grounds that the judge’s summing-up at trial was deficient in that it lacked clarity and amounted to an unfair endorsement of the complainant’s evidence. The appeal was dismissed; although the directions could have been clearer, they were not objectionable and did not, therefore, disturb the safety of the conviction.


R v. Hockey [2018] EWCA Crim 1419

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice McCombe on 21.06.18.

This was an application for leave to appeal against a confiscation order for an amount agreed by consent by the parties, accompanied by an application for an extension of time of over 10 years. The applicant’s case was that, per R v. Waya [2012] UKSC 51, the assessable benefit figure should have been the value of the properties he obtained less the amount of the encumbrances fraudulently obtained. Both applications failed; the applicant had offered no evidence on the legal machinery of the mortgages he obtained or the basis upon which the sum was agreed and there was no good reason for the exceptionally long extension of time.


Harsh criminal record checks hinder rehabilitation, court told


Embezzler claims he will not get fair hearing in UK appeal court


BBC releases special report on mental health and crime


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Voluntary Euthanasia, Individual Autonomy and the Chain of Causation

The facts of Wallace [2018] EWCA Crim 690 are as tragic as they are unusual. The victim, Mr van Dongen, and the defendant, had formerly been in a long-term relationship. On 22 September 2015, the victim visited the defendant’s flat, at her request. The defendant threw a glass of sulphuric acid into the victim’s face, with the words; “If I can’t have you, no one else will”. The victim suffered catastrophic injuries. He was left severely disfigured, lost the sight in one of his eyes, had to have his left leg amputated and was left permanently paralysed from the neck down.

The victim endured these injuries for many months. Shortly after being discharged from hospital to a care home, Mr van Dongen, a Dutch national, was moved by his father to a hospital in Belgium. Within a week of his arrival in Belgium, he made an application for voluntary euthanasia, which is lawful in Belgium if it is carried out in accordance with the 2002 Belgian Act on Euthanasia. On 2 January 2017, Mr van Dongen’s life was ended, in accordance with his wishes, by doctors at the Belgian hospital. Such actions, had they been carried out by doctors in this jurisdiction, would have constituted the offence of murder.

The defendant was charged with applying a corrosive fluid with intent contrary to section 29 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. After the victim’s death, Ms Wallace was charged with murder.

The defendant applied to dismiss the murder charge before Sir John Royce, sitting as a High Court Judge. The defendant argued that the act of voluntary euthanasia, as a free, deliberate and informed decision, represented a novus actus interveniens, thus breaking the chain of causation in a case in which the victim would otherwise have survived. The application to dismiss was refused; the court concluding that the jury would be entitled to say that the defendant’s act was a substantial, if not the main, cause of the victim’s death.

At the close of the prosecution’s case the defence made a submission of no case to answer on the count of murder. The trial judge, Mrs Justice May, agreed with this submission and withdrew the murder charge. The prosecution appealed pursuant to the provisions at section 58 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which allow appeals to the Court of Appeal against terminating rulings made in the Crown Court.

The formulation of a comprehensive test for causation had long proved problematic

The argument advanced by the defence was, in brief, that Mr van Dongen had been killed by the doctors in Belgium and not by the defendant. The exercise of his free choice, unaffected by any psychiatric condition and prohibited under domestic law, broke the chain of causation. The prosecution contention was that it was for the jury to decide whether the injuries caused by the defendant were a substantial and operating cause of death, or whether the subsequent acts meant that the injuries were no more than the setting in which the act causing the victim’s death occurred.

The Court of Appeal, in a judgment delivered by Sharp LJ, acknowledged that the formulation of a comprehensive test for causation had long proved problematic.

In agreeing with the prosecution’s submission that a jury could conclude that the defendant was the legal cause of the victim’s death, the court emphasised that there may be multiple legally effective causes. To assess whether the defendant could be a legal cause of the victim’s death, the court held that it was necessary to consider the proximity between the relevant events in the case. It could not sensibly be disputed that Mr van Dongen’s unbearable physical and psychological suffering at the time of his death resulted from the injuries that were inflicted upon him by the defendant. But for those injuries and the suffering they caused, the victim would not have requested euthanasia, nor would or could his doctors lawfully have carried it out.

The court considered whether the acts of the victim and his doctors were such as to break the chain of causation. The court considered the line of authority, including Smith [1959] 2 Q.B. 35 , Blaue [1975] 1 WLR 1411 ,  Malcharek [1981] 1 WLR 690, [1981] 2 All ER 422, CA and Williams and Davis [1992] Crim. LR 19, in which the foreseeability of the conduct or act which in fact ended the victim’s life was examined; the test was one of reasonable foreseeability which could be gauged in the context of the characteristics of the victim and the circumstances in which he had been placed by the defendant. By contrast, in Dear [1996] Crim. LR 595, the intervening act was said to be the suicide of the victim, motivated by the horrific facial injuries he had sustained at the hand of the defendant. As noted by Professor John Smith in his commentary on Dear, it was apparently regarded as immaterial by the court that the conduct of the victim in choosing to kill himself was unforeseeable.

Turning specifically to whether there was a break in the chain of causation in respect of the death of Mr van Dongen, the court in Wallace held that the acts of the victim and his doctors were not random, extraneous events, or acts unconnected with the fault element of the defendant’s conduct. Rather, they were inextricably bound up with it. It could not be said that these were discrete acts, independent of the defendant’s conduct. The victim’s acts were not the product of the sort of free and unfettered volition which is presupposed by the novus actus principle.

The connection between the inflicted injuries and death in Mr van Dongen’s case was direct and discernible. It was not blurred by any pre-existing suicidal tendency on the part of the victim, or by any pre-existing physical or mental condition. Despite the fact the victim could have remained alive, he continued to suffer severe physical and psychological effects from those injuries. His position could not realistically be equated with that of someone in a more conventional case, a stabbing for example, whose wounds had healed or nearly healed.

An apparent conflict thus emerges, between the autonomy of an individual in choosing to act in a particular way and the principle of reasonable foreseeability. As the court observed in Wallace, informed adults of sound mind are regarded in law as autonomous beings, able to make their own decisions about how they would act and a defendant may not be held responsible for the deliberate act of such a person.

An apparent conflict thus emerges, between the autonomy of an individual in choosing to act in a particular way and the principle of reasonable foreseeability

Although the facts of Wallace are most unusual, the judgment is valuable for the opportunity it provides to consider the boundaries of Lord Bingham’s seminal judgment in Kennedy (No 2) [2007] UKHL 38. It will be recalled that in Kennedy (No 2) Lord Bingham, speaking for a unanimous House of Lords, held that the free, informed and voluntary decision of the victim in injecting himself with heroin, broke the chain of causation between the defendant’s unlawful act in supplying heroin and the victim’s death of an overdose after self-administering that drug. The defendant had not ‘caused’ the administration of the heroin because the deceased had, knowing what he was doing, chosen freely and voluntarily to inject himself with the drug.

On the face of it, Kennedy is difficult to reconcile with Wallace. In both cases, the victim acted autonomously and voluntarily. Given that Mr van Dongen could only be euthanised in accordance with Belgian law if his doctors concluded that his request was voluntary, this could suggest that, applying Kennedy (No 2), the Court of Appeal ought to have concluded that there was a break in the chain of causation.

Can it be said, in any event, that the conduct of a heroin addict in self-injecting heroin is truly voluntary? The death of an addict from a drug overdose is reasonably foreseeable and addiction to drugs may erode autonomy to the point where the addict’s actions in injecting drugs provided by an accused cannot be said to be an independent action breaking the chain of causation set in motion by the accused’s unlawful act in supplying the drugs.

As Professors Hart and Honoré recognised in Causation in the Law, which was cited by Sharp LJ, voluntariness is, however, a malleable concept. The House of Lords in Kennedy (No 2) did not specify a threshold of volition below which the victim’s conduct can no longer be described as being truly voluntary, which would perhaps suggest that it understood voluntariness in quite broad terms.

Sharp LJ’s understanding in the instant case was narrower, however, and arguably more nuanced. Her ladyship held that the applicable principles of causation presuppose the existence of free and unfettered volition. As the victim’s decision to be euthanised was a direct response to the injuries inflicted by the defendant and the circumstances created for them for which she was responsible, it was held that a jury could conclude that his actions were not truly voluntary.

It is submitted that this understanding of voluntariness is to be welcomed. Whilst Lord Bingham was undoubtedly correct to say that the criminal law assumes the existence of autonomy and free will, it would be undesirable to understand these concepts in unduly shallow terms. The court’s conclusion that the victim’s decision to be euthanised was not the product of unfettered volition must surely be correct.

Whilst the example of the heroin addict may not be as obvious as Lord Bingham’s judgment in Kennedy (No 2) would suggest, it is submitted that Sharp LJ’s conclusion – that Mr van Dongen’s decision to be euthanised could not be characterised as the conduct of a truly autonomous individual – is unassailable. It is interesting to note, however, that in the event, the jury chose to acquit Ms Wallace of murder.

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21 June 2018

Weekly Digest: 21 June 2018

This week’s Digest considers two cases.  In the first, the Court of Appeal considered whether a trial judge was correct to order reporting restrictions in a fraud case involving a doctor.  In the second, the Administrative Court considered whether extradition to California would violate the claimant’s Convention rights.

R v Sarker  [2018] EWCA Crim 1341

Judgment was handed down by Lord Burnett CJ on 13 June 2018

The Court of Appeal Criminal Division considered a challenge by the BBC and other press organisations to a reporting restriction order (the Order) made under section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 on 22 January 2018. The Court distilled some general principles that emerge from the authorities on such orders and held that the threshold was not met on these facts. The Order was quashed.

Jacob Hallam QC represented the Crown.

Giese v Government of the United States of America [2018] EWHC 1480 (Admin)

Judgment handed down by Lord Burnett CJ on 14 June 2018.

The Divisional Court considered whether repeated extradition requests constituted an abuse of process, what assurances are sufficient to prevent an extradited individual from suffering a breach of their article 5(1) ECHR rights, and whether Californian prisons are acceptable from a Convention perspective.

Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras

Number of terrorism-related arrests in UK reaches record level

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A Coronial Court of Appeal – An opportunity missed?

As the five year anniversary of the coming into force of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 approaches (25th July 2018), and coronial proceedings are increasingly at the forefront of justice, was an opportunity missed to improve judicial oversight of them in the Court of Appeal?

In R (Silvera) v Senior Coroner Oxfordshire [2017] EWHC 2499 Admin, HHJ Lucraft QC (Chief Coroner for England and Wales), sitting in the Administrative Court, gave a detailed judgment on the question of whether the Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire ought to have resumed an inquest. In his judgment, the Chief Coroner concluded that the Senior Coroner should have taken a decision to resume the inquest, and the decision not to do so was unlawful and in breach of both the obligations under Article 2 of the Convention and the common law obligations to do so.

It was a straightforward ruling, not least since the decision of the Senior Coroner erred in different respects, including applying the wrong test for resuming an inquest (see paragraph 32. of the judgment).

Mr Justice Charles agreed with the decision and added:

The Chief Coroner for England and Wales has sat as a member of the Court in a number of the cases to which we have referred relating to the decisions of Coroners. Where, as here, the challenge does not engage any of the duties of the Chief Coroner of England and Wales as such it seems to me that this is both appropriate and helpful.”

That observation is plainly correct but questions remain as to why it is necessary for aggrieved interested persons to challenge such decisions by a complex and often unfunded claim for judicial review at the end of the process.

Questions remain as to why it is necessary for aggrieved interested persons to challenge such decisions by a complex and often unfunded claim for judicial review at the end of the process

In R (Cooper) -v- HM Coroner for North East Kent [2014] EWHC 586 (Admin), Mr Justice Mitting said this in respect of interlocutory challenge, at paragraph 19:

Accordingly, in my judgment, challenges of this kind should not in the ordinary case be entertained by the High Court. No judge sitting in this court, having, as this court does, jurisdiction to entertain a challenge, can ever confidently say that there should never be one. But I find it difficult to envisage circumstances in which this court should ever entertain such a challenge.”

Essentially, claims for judicial review in the ordinary case are to await the conclusion of the coronial proceedings. Law Sheet no.5 concerning the discretion of the Coroner, first issued by the Chief Coroner on 16th February 2015, confirms the position at paragraph 35.

What of the interested person seeking a more straightforward route of challenge to coronial proceedings? Potentially a challenge during the currency of the proceedings, such as a straightforward application directly to the Chief Coroner, deciding initially on the papers and giving a decision?

Section 40 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provided a right of appeal to the Chief Coroner against decisions of a Coroner falling within subsection (2). This route of appeal was new and it enabled aggrieved interested persons to appeal directly to the Chief Coroner.. It was, to use the language of the explanatory notes, an appeal route to the Chief Coroner in the absence of a ‘simple appeal route for bereaved people and other interested persons.

A section 40 decision of the Chief Coroner could thereafter be appealed to the Court of Appeal, on a point of law only. The Court of Appeal could either confirm the decision made by the Chief Coroner, substitute its own decision or quash the decision and ask the Chief Coroner to make a fresh decision.

However, this statutory route of appeal never came into force. It was repealed by the Public Bodies Act 2011, before other provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force, including the appointment of the first Chief Coroner in September 2012. The reasons are unclear. It was a decision taken at a time of austerity and at a time when many felt that the position of Chief Coroner may never make it to fruition.

Section 40 could have been brought into force to provide a straightforward statutory route of appeal and to complement the other changes in the coronial process provided for by the statute and the rules. That could be considered a significant missed opportunity for the coronial service and to bereaved persons in particular.





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Are politicians so bad at asking questions?

After Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before a Congressional Committee,  Jonathan Freedland, a thoughtful and well-respected commentator, wrote an opinion piece entitled, “Zuckerberg got off lightly. Why are politicians so bad at asking questions?” 

The short answer is –  challenging a witness is tough: any inquisitor needs to know what they are doing and to practise the craft, before their performance will start to improve. It is also relevant to look at the arena in which politicians have to ask questions.

In the UK, hearings before Parliamentary Select Committees have gained increasing prominence. Freedland argues that the appearance of Rupert and James Murdoch before the Commons Culture Committee in 2011, in response to the phone-hacking affair, was an example of the descent from forensic inquiry to actual slapstick. If the press and the public want gladiatorial combat from exchanges like this, are they bound to be disappointed?

Since 2015 the Institute for Government has been working with Select Committees on improving their impact, and sent all members a short booklet on how to be more effective. Different Committees have trialled different approaches. For example, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) now assigns a sub-group of its members to take the lead on questioning in each inquiry, which reflects the wide remit of the PAC.  Several Committees have taken up offers of external coaching to improve their questioning technique; especially important when facing off against Ministers, who will have received ample media training on sidestepping difficult questions. Critics should also bear in mind that there are softer and more subtle ways to make an impact; the kind that comes from a well-timed letter or carefully worded recommendation as opposed to a grand battle of wits, broadcast live from Portcullis House.

MPs today are, or should be, busy people.  Committee members must balance their work with myriad constituency and political commitments. A dedicated team of clerks and specialists can work away behind the scenes to prepare briefing material, but there is no substitute for having the time to develop understanding of a topic, which allows for concise follow-up questions on the fly. With most Committees averaging only one evidence session a week, questions are often raced through, leaving no time for more thorough investigation.

There is little appetite for increased funding of Parliament, but if Select Committees are going to be at the sharp end of investigating alleged wrong doing or of holding the Government to account, might there be a role for outside legal help? Freedland lauds Senator Howard Baker’s role in bringing about the downfall of President Nixon, but the Senate Watergate Committee had seven special counsel to direct the investigation.

Dealing with the world as it is now and applying Mark Zuckerberg’s maxim that all internet content should be free to the end user, we can offer three rules for effective cross examination in order to help the fearless political inquisitors who are following us.

Rule 1: The outcome means more to the witness

Witnesses always have more skin in the game than questioners. At a minimum, credibility will be in issue and often, reputation, career or even liberty might depend on the answers. Accordingly, the witness will have prepared with care, will have defensive strategies in place and will be ready to meet your challenges.  Questioners (and this applies to media interviewers and counsel) often appear flummoxed when the witness deflects the first offensive jabs and shows no sign of raising the white flag. Unless the questioner had done more work than the witness and has a better and more flexible plan of attack, the witness is going to win.

Rule 2: Think Lion, not Christian

In an airless corridor of the Crown Court at Southwark, a freshly acquitted defendant once said to a much-missed colleague, “I know you’re a barrister and all that, but you have to admit, MrX, in there, in the witness box, I was beating you and beating you bad.” The questioner who is challenging a witness is in the arena. Like the lion in Aesop’s fable, the questioner has the option on whether to attack or not. The questioner also gets to choose the form of attack: head-on, flanking, feinting, exploratory – there are many options. Whatever attack you choose, you can’t afford to lose. If the last image is of the witness gently removing the thorn from your paw and the audience is sighing ‘Aw,’ you’ve not been an effective lion.

Rule 3: Get back to Gladiator School

When amateurs tell novelists that they ‘think they’ve got a great book in them,’ the novelist is entitled to wonder whether the same amateurs tell furniture makers that they ‘think they have a Chippendale cabinet in them.’Some skills are harder to master than others. Experience suggests that challenging a witness effectively falls into that category. You won’t get better by day-dreaming or watching legal dramas on TV. You need to get help from people who know what they are doing, talk to them, imitate them, learn from them.  Advocates’ triumphs are hard won. But when you survey your scattered opponents, remove your headgear (actual or metaphorical) and say,

“I am Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions ….”or some such song of victory, that rare moment will make the investment of time and money worthwhile. Or if the exercise seems nasty and dangerous, hire a decent gladiator.

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4 June 2018

Weekly Digest: 4 June 2018

This week’s Digest considers three sets of recent sentencing remarks. The first is a sentence imposed  for manslaughter, the second for murder and assisting an offender, and the third for murder. The High Court and Court of Appeal are currently on vacation.

R v. Grainger, Reading Crown Court, Mr Justice Julian Knowles, 24 May 2018

The full remarks are available here.


R v. Robinson, Williams, May and Barnett, Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Justice Goose, 25 May 2018

The full remarks are available here.


R v. Bolland, Worrall and Brierly, Manchester Crown Court, Mr Justice William Davies, 24 May 2018

The full remarks are available here.


Prisons inspector takes emergency action over HMP Exeter


Domestic abuse victims still liable to be cross-examined by abusers


The Criminal Cases Review Commission has systematic failures, survey finds


EDL founder Tommy Robinson jailed for contempt of court


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