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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. Since 1988 law officers have been able to apply to the Court of Appeal for leave to review any sentence which has been passed in the…

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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. The Defendant Mr Gabriel had commenced an online relationship with the married victim, where they had shared intimate pictures, ultimately culminating in their meeting…

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Lack of AG consent rendered proceedings a nullity

Nick Brett, Partner and crime solicitor at Brett Wilson LLP writes about a case where lack of AG consent rendered proceedings a nullity Regina v CW and MM [2015] EWCA 906 was about a prosecution appeal against a ruling that the indictment and proceedings in a drug trafficking case were null and void. The allegations…

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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…

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Alison saunders appointed as new Director of Public Prosecutions

The Attorney-General has announced that London’s Chief Crown Prosecutor Alison saunders will take over from Keir starmer QC as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on 1 November 2013.  Ms saunders, a barrister, is the first DPP to be recruited from within the Crown Prosecution service (CPs).  she has worked at the CPs since its inception in 1986.

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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. The background to…

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suspended sentences handed down in first social media contempt case

On 26 April 2013, the High Court handed down suspended custodial sentences in Attorney-Generals first prosecution for contempt involving social media sites. Two men, Dean Liddle and Neil Harkins, admitted posting photographs, purporting to identify Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, in breach of a worldwide injunction protecting their new identities.  Venables and Thompson were convicted…

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Bar Council accuses CPs of putting cost first, quality second

The Bar Council has accused the Crown Prosecution service of purposefully acting against the public interest by keeping lucrative cases in-house, regardless of whether it would be more appropriate to brief a member of the independent Bar. The Bar Council has published a leaked email which it says demonstrates how the CPs has adopted policies not to instruct the best advocate for a given…

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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…

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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…

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