CRIMINAL LAW

DC (Leggatt LJ, May J)
4 February 2020

The court rejected a prosecution appeal against the acquittal of an individual charged with speeding. It was not possible to conclude that the justices had reached a perverse or irrational decision; they had evidently regarded evidence from the individual’s GPS tracking device as providing a reasonable doubt that he had been travelling at above 50 mph, notwithstanding the fact that it was not an approved device for measuring speed, and that was all that was required.

IPT (Singh LJ, Lord Boyd of Duncansby, Sir Richard McLaughlin, Charles Flint QC, Graham Zellick QC)
20 December 2019

On a proper interpretation of the Security Service Act 1989, the UK Security Service’s policy on agent participation in criminality, and the practices underlying it, were lawful and did not contravene the ECHR.

QBD (Admin) (Supperstone J)
17 December 2019

A Polish national who had allegedly stabbed a victim in Slovenia could not be extradited to Poland as the requirement of the Extradition Act 2003 s.64(4)(b) was not satisfied, namely that the conduct had to constitute an extra-territorial offence under UK law. The relevant extra-territorial offence under UK law would be attempted murder, but it could not be necessarily implied from his conduct that the individual had intended to kill the victim.

[2019] UKPC 43
[2019] UKPC 43
PC (Trin) (Lord Kerr, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin)
28 November 2019

The offences, set out in the Customs Act (Trinidad and Tobago) Ch.78.01, of making a false declaration in a customs declaration, importing prohibited goods and importing goods which did not correspond with a customs declaration were offences of strict liability.

[2019] EWHC 3177 (Fam)
[2019] EWHC 3177 (Fam)
Fam Div (Cobb J)
21 November 2019

The court upheld a finding of fact made during a fact-finding hearing in the context of a father’s application for a child arrangements order. The judge had carefully evaluated the evidence when she found that the father had raped the child’s mother, resulting in the conception of the child.

[2019] EWHC 3046 (Admin)
[2019] EWHC 3046 (Admin)
QBD (Admin) (Kerr J)
15 November 2019

A government policy relating to the identification of victims of human trafficking, pursuant to the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings 2005 and Directive 2011/36 art.11(4), was unlawful where it required that a referral for reconsideration of a negative decision could only be made by a specific “first responder” or “support provider”. That policy entailed an abdication of the state’s responsibility to perform the identification duty in cases where a negative decision had to be reconsidered in the light of relevant new material, and amounted to an unlawful fetter on the discretion to reopen decisions.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1953
[2019] EWCA Crim 1953
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Jay J, Sir Henry Globe)
14 November 2019

The appellant’s conviction for possessing an identity document with improper intention would be quashed, as he had shown that, had he been properly advised by counsel, the defence available to refugees under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 s.31 would have been successfully invoked. For the purposes of the defence, he had established a reason for not presenting himself to the UK immigration authorities: he was only here on a short-term stopover en route to Canada, where he intended to claim asylum.

[2019] UKSC 51
[2019] UKSC 51
SC (Lady Hale PSC, Lord Reed DPSC, Lord Wilson JSC, Lord Hodge JSC, Lord Lloyd-Jones JSC)
13 November 2019

A “person acting in an official capacity” in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.134(1) included a person who acted or purported to act, otherwise than in a private and individual capacity, for or on behalf of an organisation or body which exercised, in the territory controlled by that organisation or body and in which the relevant conduct occurred, functions normally exercised by governments over their civilian populations. Further, it covered any such person whether acting in peace time or in a situation of armed conflict.

[2019] EWCA Civ 1841
[2019] EWCA Civ 1841
CA (Civ Div) (Underhill LJ, Simler LJ)
31 October 2019

The High Court’s decision refusing permission to apply for judicial review in proceedings relating to a murder conviction was “a judgment…in a criminal cause or matter” within the meaning of the Senior Courts Act 1981 s.18(1)(a), restricting the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction to consider the appeal. There was no basis for concluding that the denial of a right of appeal in those circumstances amounted to an unjustified denial of the appellant’s right of access to justice.

[2019] EWHC 3094 (Admin)
[2019] EWHC 3094 (Admin)
DC (Coulson LJ, Cheema-Grubb J)
31 October 2019

A woman who posted hyperlinks on her internet blog which brought readers to videos of her performing grossly offensive antisemitic songs had been properly convicted of offences contrary to the Communications Act 2003 s.127(1). Her argument that posting a hyperlink was a neutral act which did not cause an offensive message to be sent was rejected as she plainly understood and endorsed the content to which the link facilitated access.

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