This week’s Digest considers five judgments. The first is a decision of the Privy Council relating to a conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002 (Mauritius). The second, third and fourth judgments were recently handed down by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). Respectively they deal with: a reference by the Attorney General of unduly lenient sentences imposed for child sex offences; the principles governing s. 6(5) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; and whether a prison officer to whom an unsolicited comment was made should be considered to be investigating an offence such that the PACE codes applied. The final case is a judgment of the Divisional Court in which the issue was whether the possession of an weapon which is offensive per se for work purposes is a reasonable excuse within the meaning of s. 1(1) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953.

Director of Public Prosecutions v Jugnauth [2019] UKPC 8

The advice of the Board, available here, was given by Lord Lloyd-Jones on 25.02.19.

This issue in this appeal was whether a minister’s sister had a personal interest in a decision taken by him to reallocate funds to pay an amount to a company that had recently won a healthcare contract. The appeal was dismissed; the decision in question in this case was one regarding the reallocation of funds, which would have been paid in any event, and thus was a decision that was not capable of affecting the interests of either the minister’s sister or the company.

David Perry QC and Victoria Ailes appeared for the Appellant.


R v YZ [2019] EWCA Crim 466

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lady Justice Thirlwall on 19.03.19.

Total sentences of six years and nine months’ imprisonment and six years’ imprisonment imposed on a male and female offender respectively following guilty pleas to child sex offences were referred to the Court by the Attorney General on the grounds that they were unduly lenient. The reference was rejected; the sentences were lenient, but not unduly so. The offending had been rightly categorised and the judge’s approach to sentencing was not flawed.

Paul Jarvis appealed on behalf of the Attorney General.


R v Morrison [2019] EWCA Crim 351

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lord Justice Singh on 08.03.19.

In this appeal, the Court considered the principles governing the s. 6(5) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 which require the court to make a confiscation order if it would not be disproportionate to require the defendant to pay the recoverable amount. The proportionality exception, however, did not mean that a general discretion was vested in the court; it neither called for nor permitted a general exercise of balancing various interests, including the potential hardship or injustice which might be caused to third parties by the making of an order which included a tainted gift.


R v Harper [2019] EWCA Crim 343

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Sir Brian Leveson PQBD on 05.03.19.

This primary issue in this appeal was whether a prison officer, who was the recipient of an unsolicited comment by a defendant in custody, was or was not investigating an offence for the purposes of triggering an obligation to comply with the PACE codes of practice. The Court held that she was not and therefore no such obligation was triggered. The trial judge had, therefore, been entitled to admit her evidence.


Garry v Crown Prosecution Service [2019] EWHC 636 (Admin)

The judgment, available here, was handed down by Lady Justice Rafferty on 19.03.19.

When considering the defence of ‘reasonable excuse’ for an offence carrying an offensive weapon pursuant to s. 1(1) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953, the Crown Court had been entitled to consider that, even though the weapon might have been used for work purposes, the court nevertheless had to consider whether such uses were reasonable and that, in those circumstances, the intention of the offender regarding the use of that weapon was irrelevant.

Peter Ratliff appeared for the Respondent.


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