Law and Lawyers blog is one year old - hence the little birthday card. It has been an interesting year and 2011 promises to be even more challenging as various policies and legal changes begin to take effect. The very first post on this blog hoped that, from time to time, the blog would throw at least a little light on the laws which govern us and the lawyers who implement those laws. That will continue to be the aim of the blog.
Criminal Conduct at the extreme end of horror
recommended that Sutlciffe serve 30 years though it now appears that he would have preferred to have made a "whole life" recommendation. See the judgment of the High Court in July 2010 and also Law and Lawyers March 2010. The latest Court of Appeal judgment is R v Peter Coonan (formerly Sutcliffe)  EWCA Crim 5. Lord Judge LCJ makes it clear that this was criminal conduct at the "extreme end of horror" and that the interests of justice require nothing less than a whole life order. It was also made clear that the correctness of the verdict of the jury was not open to question. "Judges making the assessments under schedule 22 of the 2003 Act cannot impose a sentence which would reflect a defence which was not established when, as a matter of law, it should have been established by the defendant, or superimpose their own judgments on issues of provocation and self defence, contrary to the verdicts of the jury."
See also - The Guardian (Afua Hirsch) - "Mark Kennedy case: News of sexual liaisons may result in civil actions."
Surveillance raises a considerable array of legal issues. In recent years there has an increase in the statutory regulation of various activities which have always taken place to some extent. These activities include interception of communications (now regulated by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part I); the use of "bugging devices" on premises (Police Act 1997 Part III) and covert surveillance (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part II).
It has been announced that the IPCC is to investigate alleged failures by Nottinghamshire Police to disclose relevant material to the Crown Prosecution Service in the Ratcliffe-on-Soar trial which was discontinued on Monday 10th January. Here is the IPCC announcement.
Addendum 2 - 15th January: The Guardian published a further story about the use of an undercover officer in Cardiff - see "Third undercover police spy unmasked as scale of network emerges." The article also indicates that HM Inspectorate of Constabulary is to examine whether the use of undercover officers in the context of investigating the activities of potential protesters was "proportionate." "Proportionality" between the objective sought and the method(s) used is one of the tests which has to be applied when considering authorisation for the use of covert sources.