Upskirt photos: the need for specific legislation

The activity of taking photographs up women’s skirts without their knowledge is very difficult to defend in the moral sense, or indeed in any sense. Up-skirting, also known as ‘Creepshots’, may have been defended by some years ago as an adolescent frolic, a bit like fixing mirrors to one’s toecaps and other jolly japes from the 1950s.  However, with the advent of much smaller, smarter cameras becoming widely available, the defenders of this sort of activity have dwindled to zero. At the same time, and in the current climate of pro-actively protecting of women’s rights to privacy, choice and personal space, it is no surprise that many are calling for ‘up-skirt’ photos to be made a specific criminal offence.

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Disclosure failings: under-funded, under-trained and unfair

A fair disclosure process is the heart of a healthy criminal justice system.  The police and prosecutors (who, whilst responsible for investigating and prosecuting, should of course be impartial and open-minded) are entrusted with reviewing evidence in a case and – where it may assist a defendant or undermine the prosecution’s case – disclosing its existence to the defence.  The process should be repeated if a defence statement is disclosed, which sets out the nature of a defendant’s defence and may make further disclosure requests (and/or render hitherto insignificant evidence, disclosable).  Without the task of disclosure being undertaken properly, the defence may never know, or be provided with evidence that either questions the prosecution’s case or completely exonerates a defendant.

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‘Zombie’ solicitor allowed to remain in profession despite finding of dishonesty

A Solicitor who had received the “South West Young Dealmaker of the Year” award in 2014 has been allowed to remain in practice despite the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) finding that he had acted dishonestly.

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Streamlined sentencing code proposed

In July 2017, the Law Commission published a draft Sentencing Code for public consultation.  The consultation period ended on 26 January 2018 and the findings are currently awaited.

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Criminal Law : Doctor struck off and convicted of manslaughter – professional errors made under pressure.

In December 2015, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, an Accident & Emergency doctor, was found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court of gross negligence manslaughter of six-year-old Jack Adcock, who had been admitted to the Leicester Royal Infirmary in February 2011. Jack had a known heart condition and had been admitted with vomiting and diarrheaoa. During his admission Jack developed sepsis and then died after suffering a cardiac arrest. The Prosecution case was that Dr Bawa-Garba had failed to properly discharge her duty as the doctor in charge, including temporarily confusing him with another patient and wrongly believing (again temporarily) that Jack was under a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Order.

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Law relating to social media to be reviewed

The Prime Minister has indicated that the Law Commission will review legislation “to ensure that the criminal law, which was drafted long before the creation of social media platforms, is appropriate to meet the challenges posed by this new technology”. A new “social media code of practice”, providing guidelines for content and conduct and how companies report abuse is also proposed.

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Frozen bank account and no explanation? Suspicious Activity Reports and the high street bank customer post April 2017

Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) have been with us for over 15 years, but to many outside the Regulated sector they are a somewhat unfamiliar concept. The number of SARs has increased steadily.  The latest available statistics (October 2015 to March 2017) show that over 630,000 SARS have been made in an 18-month period. The National Crime Agency reported that 43,290 SARS were received in March 2017, the highest number ever recorded for one month.  So what exactly is a SAR, what goes on behind the scenes, and what causes your bank account to be frozen? The following is a typical example.

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Further terrorism offences added to Unduly Lenient Sentencing Scheme

A further nine terrorism related offences have been added to the Unduly Lenient Sentencing (ULS) scheme in addition to the 19 like offences which were added in July 2016.

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