Thursday 2 May 2013

A Thursday miscellany

The veteran broadcaster Mr Stuart Hall (pictured) has pleaded guilty to counts of indecent assault committed in the period 1967-85.  A count of rape will 'lie on the file' and not be tried since (a) the complainant does not wish it to proceed given the guilty pleas entered and (b) the Crown Prosecution Service do not consider it in the public interest to require her to give evidence - CPS announcement and  BBC 2nd May 2013.  Mr Hall will be sentenced on 17th June.

Historic sexual abuse:

Barrister Felicity Gerry writes on the subject of historic sex abuse cases on her blog - Justice for historic sexual abuse.  Gerry highlights some of the difficulties inherent in criminal prosecutions and goes on to look at the possibility of civil actions against institutions which employed abusers.  Earlier posts - Jimmy Savile (4/10/12) and Vicarious Liability in Tort (21/11/12).

Parliamentary Papers of interest:

A couple of Parliamentary papers are of interest.  One paper looks at Human Rights cases since 1975.  The other deals with the continuing issue of voting rights for serving prisoners.

Sergeant Danny Nightingale's case:

Sergeant Danny Nightingale will face a retrial before the Court Martial in July.  A previous blogpost covers the case to date.  In March 2013, Sgt. Nightingale's sentence was quashed - (judgment) - and a retrial ordered.  The conviction was quashed because of an unsolicited sentence indication by the trial judge - Judge McGrigor (Assistant Judge Advocate General) - which placed undue pressure on the defendant to plead guilty.  On 1st May, The Guardian reported that the retrial is set for July and that it had been ruled that there was no abuse of process in emails allegedly showing that prosecutors acted improperly.  For more on the Court Martial system see Ministry of Justice.


Sometimes, press reports make one wonder whether law enforcement can be somewhat heavy-handed.  The Daily Mail reports on Kurtis Green (age 19) who has tended a war memorial for some 12 years and now finds himself under investigation for criminal damage.  Why?  Because he connected a water supply so that flower beds could be watered - Daily Mail 2nd May.

Community Resolutions:

This week it has also been reported that some 10000 cases of violence have been dealt with by way of 'community resolutions' - BBC 30th April.  These will not count as either convictions or cautions.  In 2012, ACPO issued Guidelines on the use of Community Resolutions incorporating Restorative Justice.

The Supreme Court has issued three judgments.  

Supreme Court Decided Cases.

R (on the application of Sturnham) (Appellant) v The Parole Board of England and Wales and another (Respondents)
These appeals concern the circumstances in which a prisoner serving a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (“IPP”), who has served the minimum period specified for the purposes of retribution and deterrence (the “tariff”), and whose further detention is justified only if it is necessary for the protection of the public, should be awarded damages for delay in reviewing the need for further detention following the expiry of the tariff. They are also concerned with the quantum of such damages

WHA Limited and another (Appellants) v Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (Respondent)
This appeal concerns the effectiveness of a scheme (“Project C”) which was designed to minimise the liability toVAT of a group of companies (“Oriel”) involved in providing motor breakdown insurance (“MBI”)

R (on the application of ClientEarth) (Appellant) v The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Respondent)
This case concerns the Government’s obligations under Directive 2008/50/EC (“the Air Quality Directive”) toreduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in outdoor air in the United Kingdom. Nitrogen dioxide is a gas formed by combustion at high temperatures which, when concentrated above a certain level, poses risks to human health. The main sources of nitrogen dioxide are road traffic and domestic heating.

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