No safe havens for criminals in European Union

Saturday 31 January 2004 at 9:36 pm | In News | Post Comment

Lengthy extradition procedures have given way to the long awaited European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for serious crimes, including terrorism throughout the European Union. The EAW replaces court decisions in the country where the person has been found, perhaps followed by appeals, sometimes lasting years.
The EAW removes the risk of refusal by courts, which do not always recognise the legal proceedings. The final decision, which until now has been made by a politician, has been removed.
A European arrest warrant may be issued by a national court for an offence carrying at least one year in prison or where the person sought has been sentenced to at least four months.
Details here

Sentencing: Intermittent custody

Tuesday 27 January 2004 at 6:13 pm | In News | Post Comment

25.1.04: Offenders sentenced under a pilot scheme will spend either weekends or weekdays in prison, and the rest of the week in the community. The sentence is aimed at offenders who have committed an offence sufficiently serious to warrant a prison sentence, but who do not present such a risk as to require immediate full-time custody.
Details here

Judges: A case that is more interesting than relevant to AS/A Level law

Monday 26 January 2004 at 6:01 pm | In News | Post Comment

R v Betson and others (CA)
The judge in the case of the “Dome Raiders” (criminals who conspired to rob the Millennium Dome which would have been the biggest in UK history had it succeeded. The diamonds were worth £200m) had been asleep during the trial. He admitted he had nodded off, but the description of his sleeping included snoring and his head slumping so far forward it nearly touched the bench.. However, it did not mean the convictions were unsafe, but the sentences were manifestly excessive. The CofA reduced two sentences from 18 years to 15 years and one of 15 and to 12 years. The judge, Mr Justice Davis has since retired.
News item here.

Delegated Legislation: Remedial Orders

Sunday 25 January 2004 at 6:45 pm | In News | Post Comment

An example of a remedial order is given here

It corrects an unfairness in Courts Martial where the Judge Advocate of a Naval Court Martial was appointed by Naval officers (unlike the Army and the Air Force), this lead to an appeal to the UCHR (Mark Grieves v United Kingdom) which declared that such a Naval tribunal was not ‘independent’ as required by Article 6 of the Convention. 

The Remedial Order provides that Judge Advocate of Her Majesty’s Fleet, a civilian, will now appoint judicial officers and judge advocates. 


Once laid before Parliament it has 120 days before it becomes a permanent piece of legislation. So, a resolution has to be passed by each House of Parliament approving the Order.

Rylands and Fletcher not necessarily strict liability. D must recognise risk.

Friday 23 January 2004 at 9:06 pm | In News | 1 Comment

Transco Plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council [2003] HL
[Rylands v Fletcher – factor includes damage which could be insured against]
The defendant council owned a block of flats. Without negligence on thier part the mains water pipe carrying water into the flats failed and a considerable quantity of water escaped into the ground causing damage.

Held: The damage or mischief test in Rylands v Fletcher was not easy to satisfy. D had to do something he recognised, or should have recognised, as giving rise to an exceptionally high risk. Further, the defendant’s use of the land had to be extraordinary and unusual, by contemporary standards, possibly by asking if it was something against which he could have insured. In the instant case, the council, was carrying out a routine function which did not raise any special hazard, and it constituted a natural use of the land. The question of strict liability did not therefore arise. Rylands v Fletcher should not be subsumed into the general law of negligence.

Whole case here.

R v. Connor and Mirza (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL

Friday 23 January 2004 at 3:33 am | In News | Post Comment

Jury deliberations must remain secret after a verdict has been given. By a 4-1 majority two appeals were dismissed which might have revealed unreasonable behaviour of jurors.  Their Lordships affirmed the principle that not even appeal judges can inquire into the deliberations of jurors. Lord Slynn said the principle was “essential to the operation of the jury system as we know it”. 
Case here

Court of Appeal’s time wasted

Friday 23 January 2004 at 2:38 am | In News | Post Comment

The civil justice system is overrun with hopeless cases brought by obsessive litigants with hopeless causes, which waste the Court of Appeal’s time and money.
The report is not available on line, news story here

Court Strtucture, criminal and civil procedure: New anti-social behaviour powers now in force

Tuesday 20 January 2004 at 7:36 pm | In News | 2 Comments

The single biggest package of measures to tackle anti-social behaviour comes into force today gives people new tools in their fight against neighbours from hell, intimidating groups on their streets and potentially lethal firearms.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 includes measures to: give county councils and housing action trusts permission to apply for anti-social behaviour orders, helping to tackle

  • nuisance neighbours;
  • close crack houses;
  • disperse groups causing harassment or intimidation;
  • place restrictions on ownership of airguns;
  • create a new offence of possession of an air weapon or replica firearm in a public place without reasonable excuse;
  • ban the sale and manufacture of high powered air weapons;
  • widen the use of fixed penalty notices – eg for noise nuisance, truancy, graffiti – and apply them to 16 to 17 year olds;
  • and lift automatic reporting restrictions on anti-social behaviour orders on conviction in youth court.

      Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 here

    • Dica followed in Liverpool

      Monday 19 January 2004 at 10:22 pm | In News | Post Comment

      Thanks to Andrew from Liverpool who pointed out to me that Dica was followed in Liverpool, whre Kouassi Adaye was jailed for 6 years for similar conduct, “biological GBH”.
      News report here.

      Miscarriages of justice. The role of the Criminal Cases Review Commission

      Monday 19 January 2004 at 9:57 pm | In News | Post Comment

      On 10th December 2003, the conviction of Angel Cannings for killing her children was quashed.  Today the Court of Appeal gave reasons.  The government law officer, the Attorney General has referred the issues raised by their Lordships to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.  There are 258 similar convictions to be reviewed.
      News report here

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