Tag Archives: Attorney-General

Revenge Porn blackmail suspended sentence held too lenient by Court of Appeal

In Attorney General’s Reference (No.84 of 2015) sub nom R v Jamie Gabriel (2015) the Court of Appeal considered the appropriateness of a two-year prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, imposed for blackmail.

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High Court hears internet contempt trials

The Attorney-General has appeared in person before the High Court to ask that two men be committed to jail for “acts likely to interfere with the administration of justice”.  In both instances the acts arise  from the use of the internet whilst jurors in criminal trial.  In an indication of how seriously the courts are treating the issue of internet use and contempt, the cases are being heard by sir John Thomas (President of the Queen’s Bench Division and the future Lord Chief Justice) and Mr Justice sweeney.

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County Court has power to refer contempt cases to Attorney-General

In the case of Utopia Tableware LTD v (1) BBP Marketing Ltd (2) British Bung Manufacturing Co Ltd [2013] EWPCC 28 Mr Justice Birss (sitting as a judge of the Patents County Court) ruled judges in the County Court are able to refer matters to the Attorney-General to consider whether contempt of court proceedings should be brought.

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Law Commission to consider whether offence of scandalising the Court should be abolished

The offence of scandalising the court dates back to 1765.  Under the law it is an offence to be extremely offensive to a judge or accuse him/her of corruption.  The offence is a form of contempt of court and includes the publication of material or the carrying out of acts likely to undermine the administration of justice or public confidence therein.  It usually takes the form of scurrilous abuse of the judiciary or the imputation of improper motives.  It is distinct from other forms of contempt such as the publication of prejudicial material, misbehaviour in court and breach of jury confidentiality.

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Parliamentary Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions reports no need for legislation

set up in the wake of the spate of highly publicised privacy injunctions last year, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions has published its final report.  significantly, the report rejects criticisms that privacy law has beenjudge made, stating that it has evolved from the Human Rights Act 1998.  The report concludes that a statute defining the right to privacy is unnecessary.  Furthermore, it finds that a statutory definition of “public interest” is not required as this should be based on an exercise of judgement on a case by case basis.  The Committee is of the view that the courts are carrying out this task well.   The report also recommends, inter alia, that the Attorney-General be more proactive in bringing contempt proceedings when injunctions are breached, that courts direct that injunctions be served on social networking websites such as Twitter, that a new code of conduct for journalists should require subjects to be notified of stories where privacy is in issue and that a failure to notify should aggravate damages.

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