R v James and Karimi [2006] CA

Wednesday 25 January 2006 at 10:12 pm | In News | 1 Comment

The law of precedent appears to have been changed by the Court of Appeal, who in this judgment has preferred the ruling by the Privy Council to the House of Lords, text books on the law of precedent need rewriting as from today. Two appeals were heard together because each turns on the true interpretation of “provocation” s3 Homicide Act 1957. The court sat five strong because they raise a novel and important question of the law relating to precedent.

Held: In effect, in the long term at least, Holley has overruled Morgan Smith.

Full case report here

Constitutional Reform Act

Monday 23 January 2006 at 9:14 pm | In News | Post Comment

On 3 April key parts of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 which will deliver the central aspects of those reforms will come into force. These will bring the new Judicial Appointments Commission into operation. They will also strengthen and clarify the respective roles of the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, in particular ending the Lord Chancellor’s position as a judge.

More details here

Assault – actus reus – cutting hair is ABH

Sunday 22 January 2006 at 9:50 pm | In News | Post Comment

Smith, DPP v [2006] QBD
D caused actual bodily harm to V by cutting off her pony tail. D went to the home of his ex-partner and cut of her pony tail with kitchen scissors. The magistrates accepted that there was no actual bodily harm; the DPP appealed.

Held: Cutting off a person’s hair amounted to ABH. Harm was not limited to injury to the skin, flesh and bones and extended to hurt and damage. That the hair cut was “dead tissue” was not relevant.

Obiter: If paint or some other unpleasant substance were to be put on a victim’s hair that would to could amount to actual bodily harm. R v Donovan [1934]; R v Chan-Fook [1994]; R v Stephen Cook (unreported, 28 July 1994, CA) and R (on the application of T) v DPP [2003] considered.

Rare conviction of a company for manslaughter

Saturday 21 January 2006 at 5:10 pm | In News | Post Comment

20th January 2006:
Construction company proprietor Wayne Davies of A & E Buildings, based in Knighton, Powys, was today sentenced to an 18-month custodial sentence for manslaughter.

Mark Jones, aged 40 was killed in South Staffordshire whilst installing the barn roof; Mr Jones and another man worked at roof height from a ‘home-made’ basket balanced on the forks of a telehandler belonging to Mr Davies.

The telehandler tipped over, throwing both men approximately 25 feet to the ground Mr Jones sustained fatal injuries from which he died the other man was seriously injured.

Picture of a telehandler

Picture of a telehandler from FW Crane Products.

Diverting offenders: fixed penalties and reparation instead of court

Friday 20 January 2006 at 9:03 am | In News | Post Comment

The intention to divert more offenders from the court system would affect about 200,000 not 1 million as was reported in the press this week.

Diverting offenders from the court system is not new. Police for years have issued cautions to offenders who admit their guilt and fixed penalty tickets have been available for twenty years. The Crown Prosecution Service’s “conditional cautions” is to be extended throughout England and Wales.

In exchange for a caution the offender agrees to rehabilitation or reparation. He might start drug rehabilitation, or clean off graffiti. The reason this is controversial is because it transfers a quasi-judicial role to Crown Prosecutors.

What is proposed is diversion for not having a TV licence not paying council tax and other low level criminal offences.

News item here

Judges “guilty” over fraud case costs

Thursday 5 January 2006 at 10:52 pm | In News | Post Comment

Jury trials for fraud cases may not be scrapped, because judges, not juries, are to blame for the “enormous” cost of big fraud trials, according to an unpublished report by a working party of three leading criminal QCs.

The working party believes that there would be little saving in time or cost if juries were to be abolished in serious fraud cases, as the Government currently intends. Indeed, cases could take longer because the judge would be expected to consider more detailed evidence and write a reasoned verdict.

The story is to be found in The Telegraph, here.

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