Leigh Day’s Iraq conduct in the firing line.

Three human rights lawyers from firm Leigh Day have appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) accused of knowingly bringing false claims that British troops ‘mutilated, tortured and killed’ Iraqi civilians. Opening submissions from the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) provide some very interesting insights.

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Serious Fraud Office Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Tesco approved

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Tesco Stores Ltd in relation to the overstating of profits in their 2014 accounts.  This DPA follows similar agreements between the SFO and Standard Bank and Rolls-Royce Plc.  The agreement was approved by the High Court on 10 April 2017 and makes provision for Tesco Stores Ltd to account for its conduct and compensate shareholders without facing the full extent of a criminal prosecution.

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Police to replace ‘insufficient evidence’ notification

Suspects in criminal investigations will no longer be told that they will not be prosecuted on the basis of ‘insufficient evidence’ the Home Office has announced. A consultation with the Police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Attorney General’s Office took place following concerns raised that the current wording raises doubt on an individual’s innocence.

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Cyber-fraud piracy case thrown out

Brett Wilson LLP has successfully defended an individual at Nottingham Crown Court who had been charged with multiple counts of fraud and money laundering in relation to a number of websites which he owned and operated.

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New sentencing guidelines for ‘intimidatory offences’: Sentencing is one small piece of the jigsaw.

On 30 March 2017 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) launched a 13-week consultation on the punishments for several different offences arising from legislation spanning 150 years. It includes all of the following offences:-

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On the Front Line between the Regulatory and the Criminal

The case of Phil Shiner, a leading Humans Rights lawyer struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in early February illustrates the grave dangers in obtaining clients through dubious means – and where that can lead.

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Barrister accused of sexual harassment at chambers party successfully appeals Bar Disciplinary Tribunal finding

Barrister and former UKIP candidate, Stephen Howd, has successfully appealed a Bar Disciplinary Tribunal ruling primarily on the grounds of a medical condition he was suffering at the time of his conduct.  Mrs Justice Lang sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court ruled that a medical condition (that will remain confidential) was the impetus behind Mr Howd’s actions and overturned the Tribunal’s finding and the £1,800 fine imposed.

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Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: A Guide

The Act came into force in May 2016 and fairly dramatically extends the criminalisation of the possession and supply of substances which can generically be referred to as ‘drugs’. It does not affect the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which remains in force in connection with the possession, supply and trafficking of cannabis, amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin as well as other less known narcotic substances which feature in its schedules. Thus, it is a departure from existing legislation because it is not substance focused.

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Diminished Responsibility: A defence to murder

“Diminished responsibility” is a defence to murder. The burden of proof is on the defendant to show that is more likely than not that he suffered from such abnormality of the mind that, having unlawfully killed another person, his conviction ought to be for manslaughter as opposed to murder. The practical effect, in so far as the defendant is concerned, is that the sentencing judge has a discretion on sentence. Sentence following a conviction for murder is a mandatory one of life imprisonment (release only at the discretion of the Home Secretary at a time after the expiry of a minimum period known as a ‘tariff’). Sentence following a conviction for manslaughter is at the discretion of the trial judge up to a maximum of life imprisonment which will depend on the facts of the case. The difference is the defendant’s state of mind. Murder is a crime of specific intent, manslaughter is not. Those who kill because they are mentally ill should be afforded some leniency as they are less responsible for their actions. The defence of ‘diminished responsibility’ applies in such circumstances and is prescribed by section 2 Homicide Act 1957 as amended by section 52 Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

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