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Disclosure of Criminal Records

The government has recently approved a proposal to reform the disclosure of criminal records. A review of the sentencing system found that a critical element in reducing offending was having access to employment. Having unspent convictions can be a barrier to gaining employment, so the proposal is to change the law to reduce the number […]

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John Goodwin: The Justice Select Committee on Private Prosecutions

John Goodwin defends all types of Animal Welfare Cases and currently is representing defendants in some of the Biggest RSPCA cases throughout England and Wales. He has many concerns about the role of the RSPCA as a private prosecutor and particularly the fairness of the initial stages of their investigations. Many clients are unaware when […]

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A Smarter Approach to Sentencing?

A Smarter Approach to Sentencing? This is the name of the paper presented to Parliament that proposes changes to the sentencing and release frameworks in the criminal justice system. The paper sets out the “problems” they have identified in the system as being automatic release, improving confidence and addressing the causes of offending. Automatic release – […]

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Recovery plan for the criminal courts

In March, nearly 50% of courts were closed, and jury trials were halted to reduce interaction between court users dramatically. Although 90% of courts have re-opened there is a backlog of cases. The government has announced a series of new measures to address the current delays in criminal courts. Although some lawyers would argue that […]

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Indictments – The Basics

An analysis of criminal appeals reveals that indictment errors, often undetected at the trial stage, can lead to significant injustice. However, the Court of Appeal will not quash a conviction merely because there was some unfairness in the trial process; it will only do so if the conviction is unsafe. The application of this test, […]

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Pandemics, Covid and Fraud

Legal experts are warning that an onslaught of new cases is inevitable for the Serious Fraud Office amid the coronavirus-prompted recession. “I envisage that much more serious fraud will be uncovered in the next six to 12 months. The SFO will be even more relevant than it has been before, post-pandemic,” says Sam Tate, a […]

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Transfer of Fibres – New Research Published

The presence of fibres on a person or object is a relatively common feature of serious criminal cases, in particular cases of murder or other serious violence. Fibres can be easily transferred, and their presence can indicate a link between people, locations and/or objects. We know that a significant transfer of fibres can take place […]

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Fighting for a Suspended Prison Sentence

Fighting for a Suspended Prison Sentence. In many cases, despite the fact an offence is serious enough for a custodial sentence to be imposed, this can be avoided if the court can be persuaded to suspend the prison sentence. Which length of sentence can be suspended? The sentence must meet these rules: For those aged […]

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Jurors – When They Misbehave

Jurors take an oath to try a case solely on the evidence heard in court, to do otherwise risks a significant miscarriage of justice. At the outset of every criminal trial, and often at frequent points during it, a Judge will remind jurors of this rule. On occasion, however, a juror does transgress, whether by […]

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Corona Virus and Custody Time Limits

Custody time limits dictate the length of time that someone can be held in custody before the start of the trial. These rules are designed to ensure all persons are kept in custody for indefinite periods awaiting trial and impose obligations on the State to ensure courts function correctly. Extending custody time limits: Custody time […]

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