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Dairy farmer fined and ordered to pay more than £19,000 in costs for polluting river

David Farrugia
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In May 2016, slurry held in a lagoon on a dairy farm overflowed into a ditch chamber that had not been correctly sealed off. The slurry killed approximately 1,700 fish in the River Frome and prevented water leisure activities taking place in the river. The...

White-collar crime agencies stepping up their efforts

Alexandra Dean
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Public awareness of white-collar crime has come to the fore in recent years and the Government is under ever-greater pressure to put a stop to corrupt practices. This year, the biggest crime agencies are being audited to determine their effectiveness and...

The dangers of failing to perform health and safety checks on your farm

Edward Worthy
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On 10 March 2017, a farming company pleaded guilty for breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £50,000 at Norwich Crown Court. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the farm company had failed to...

Squatting becomes a criminal offence

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New legislation has been introduced to offer better protection for home owners and allows the Court to punish such offences by imposing up to 6 months imprisonment or a £5,000 fine or both.  Ministers said that it...

Wednesday 2nd November - not a good day for many motorists...

Spencer Davis
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On Wednesday November 2 Essex Police ran a Surround a Town Operation designed to detect offenders using the roads and increase road safety. Officers used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to identify suspect vehicles which were then intercepted and...

The Supreme Court Has Sent Employers A Wake-Up Call on Vicarious Liability

Alexandra Dean
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The Supreme Court has ruled that Morrisons supermarket was vicariously liable for actions of a staff member who physically attacked a customer. According to court documents, Amjid Khan was working at a Morrisons petrol station in Birmingham in 2008 when he...

JURORS BEWARE - YOU COULD FACE A PRISON SENTENCE FOR BEING FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT

Spencer Davis
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Jurors should be aware of the new European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling on the 11th February 2016. It was held that there was no violation of a person's Article 7 human right (no punishment without law) in respect of a conviction for contempt of...

The law on Joint Enterprise has been 'wrongly interpreted' for over 30 years

Spencer Davis
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The Supreme Court has today ruled that a key test imposed by judges in assessing guilt in joint enterprise cases has been wrongly interpreted since a 1984 judgment by the judicial committee of the Privy Council. Under the doctrine of joint enterprise, an...

Finally presumed dead after 42 years!

Lisa Carter
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Lord Lucan is now presumed to be dead, a High Court judge has ruled. 42 years after the peer vanished a death certificate has finally been issues.  He was declared dead in 1999, despite hundreds of unverified sightings, but the new ruling gives...

A major reform of the legal aid system in England and Wales has been scrapped, the justice secretary Michael Gove has announced.

Spencer Davis
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Plans to slash the number of law firms allowed to do criminal legal aid work at police stations and magistrates' courts has been scrapped, following repeated protest from Lawyers claiming the reforms could damage quality and access to justice. Labour...

Don't trust the label - or better still DON'T drink and drive!

Spencer Davis
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A  recent study  has found that wine actually contains more alcohol than manufacturers are putting on the label. The findings are not only worrying for health reasons but could be unwittingly putting drinkers over the drink-driving limit. ...

Christmas caution on sharing personal information

Justin Emerson
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Christmas Day has been the biggest day of the year for online and app downloads in recent years, as users set up the new devices they’ve received as presents, and 2015 is expected to maintain the tradition. Apple announced the billionth download from...

Mandatory payments imposed on convicted defendants should be abolished, say MPs

Elizabeth Bradshaw
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MPs on the parliamentary justice select committee have raised concerns about the criminal courts charge, calling for its abolition 'as soon as possible'. Since April 2015, convicted criminals in England and Wales have had to pay a charge, which is...

Gang jailed for series of power tool raids on farms

Spencer Davis
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Four men who targeted farm outbuildings in Wales, stealing thousands of pounds have been caught and put behind bars. Speaking after sentencing, detective chief inspector Neil Harrison, of North Wales Police, told the Daily Post that the group was...

The RSPCA could lose its power to prosecute

Elizabeth Bradshaw
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The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee is due to launch a parliamentary inquiry into whether the RSPCA should be allowed to both investigate and prosecute cases of animal cruelty. Founded in 1824, the RSPCA is thought to be the first...

Police Prejudice Exposed In Stop-and-Search Figures

Peter Butterfield
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New stop-and-search figures composed by The Independent have revealed the significant issue of ongoing police prejudice, despite concerted efforts to tackle the problem. The Independent collated data from 39 police forces across the country. The result of...

Supreme Court reassesses remedies in nuisance cases

Justin Emerson
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The move which will be greeted with relief by developers, who have long been nervous about the potential for injunctions to be granted against them preventing the progress of their project or requiring them to demolish their work.  This particular case...

High Court rules on a suitable care arrangement in catastrophic injury case

Alexandra Dean
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In this case (Farrugia v Burtenshaw and others [2014]), liability had been admitted by the defendant road traffic insurer and most quantum issues agreed, however, the parties remained in dispute over the provision of future care and case management. The...

Criminal Gangs target low value tractors

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Rural Insurer, NFU Mutual, warn that criminal gangs have been targeting low to mid value tractors for export to Africa in particular. A typical trend is emerging where Tractors are stolen from Farms, loaded onto Lorries then shipped abroad to developing...

Supreme Court rules on Will signature error case

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The Supreme Court has ruled that an intended heir should not be disinherited based on an incorrectly signed Will.  The ruling is based on the premise that Wills should be treated in the same way as commercial contracts and that obvious oversights should...

Terms of prenuptial agreement overruled by High Court

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The High Court however ruled that to protect the "reasonable requirements" of their three children, the husband should not live in "relative penury", whilst his wife lives in "relative luxury". This is the case of...

The smartphone war continues as Apple and Samsung return to court

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Last year saw the conclusion of one of the most high profile patent battles of recent times, as Apple claimed victory in one of several ongoing IP disputes that are presently being fought out between these two smartphone heavyweights in courtrooms across the...

British Music Industry successfully sink online pirates

Justin Emerson
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The Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) were asked to take this action in accordance with a court order successfully obtained by the BPI which represents the British music industry.  This follows similar orders made against high profile sites such...

Out of Court settlements on the increase

Justin Emerson
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This could be a result of costs budgeting as parties see the potential overall cost of litigation at an early stage. Judges and litigators have found that many cases have settled after the parties see the costs budgets. The fact that open and early costs...

Overage Payments

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This article seeks to give a brief explanation of Overage Agreements and their potential benefits when selling on land. An Overage Agreement is generally used to describe a situation whereby the seller is to share in any increase in value in a property that...

Sainsbury's v Tesco: price comparison feud may go to court

Justin Emerson
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The dispute originated when Sainsbury’s took umbrage to Tesco’s Price Promise Campaign whereby customers are encouraged to compare product prices with rival supermarkets.  In the event that a comparable product is found to be cheaper...

High Court decides on high conflict child contact case

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The case concerned a father’s application for contact with his 13 year old daughter. He had limited contact in accordance with the terms of a Court Order made in 2006.  The father sought an increase in contact to include overnight staying...

Is the Ministry of Justice of any use?

Peter Butterfield
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A recent submission to the Justice Select Committee has questioned whether the Ministry of Justice has ever done anything that has had any impact on the commission of any crimes in the UK since its inception in 2007. The company providing the submission,...

New Victim's Code published

Peter Butterfield
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Damian Green, the victims’ minister, announced that judges will take into account victims’ personal statements when determining sentences from December. He believes this will stop the issue of victims feeling as though they are an...

Former Director of Public Prosecutions calls for criminal sanctions for failure to report child abuse

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In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, much attention has been focused on how we can avoid the occurrence of any future situation in which abusive behaviour against children remains seemingly unnoticed and unchallenged. Keir Starmer, former Director of...

The Court of Appeal has recently found that a party's failure to respond to an invitation to mediation amounts to unreasonable conduct.

Justin Emerson
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The above case settled with the claimant accepting at the last minute the defendant’s part 36 offer. However, the defendant had previously failed to respond entirely to an invitation to attend mediation leading the court to impose a costs sanction that...

TV cameras enter Court of Appeal

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Other than in the Supreme Court, cameras in court have been prohibited since the commencement of the Criminal Justice Act 1925.   James Harding, BBC director of news and current affairs hailed the move as a “…landmark moment for...

Landmark judgment made by The Supreme Court

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In 2000 Annie Woodland, aged 10 at the time, nearly drowned during a swimming lesson being given by an outsourcing company that had been hired by the local authority, Essex County Council. Her case included a claim that the swimming teacher and lifeguard,...

Chris Grayling strongly rejects European proposals

Peter Butterfield
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After pursuing what many believe are unsustainable and damaging cuts to the UK legal aid system many will welcome Grayling’s defence of the UK justice system. Among the measures the UK will opt out of are: The European probation measure - Grayling...

Criminal Legal Aid sustainability

Peter Butterfield
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A leading criminal lawyer, Franklin Sinclair, has recently argued in a speech to the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group that the current legal aid system can only sustain a maximum of 300 criminal solicitors firms rather the 1,600 there are currently in...

Digital Courts to improve speed and efficiency.

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The Government are planning to have all court rooms in England and Wales fully digital by 2016, to end what the Government deems as an outdated reliance on paper in the justice system. This proposal is part of a £160 million plan to improve the speed...

Government to introduce lie detector tests for sex offenders

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The proposed scheme follows the system that has long been in place in theUnited Stateswhere polygraph tests are mandatory for serious sex offenders. It is understood the proposal will mean that tests for sex offenders who are categorised as 'serious'...

Should squatting in commercial premises be criminalised?

Michael Callaghan
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With the introduction of s.144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 however, squatting in a residential property became a criminal offence punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of up to £5,000.  The...

Police must treat 17-year-olds in custody as children

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During the time he was in custody he was not allowed contact with his mother, who only found out about his arrest four hours after he was detained. On arrival at Battersea Police Station having learned of her son's arrest she was denied access to him....

Courts rule on rent deposits

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The brief facts of the case are that the Tenant paid funds by way of rent in advance to the Landlord at the start of the term.  The Tenant paid a total of 6 months rent in advance as a consequence of the Tenancy Agreement agreed by the parties.  It...

Call for criminal sanctions against care home owners.

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Former Health Minister, Paul Burstow's plans are set out in a report on care and corporate neglect calling for unlimited fines and criminal sanction for companies owning care homes.  Following the Government Report on the abuse at...

Offenders to meet their victims

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The proposals are part of a new scheme to try and cut high reoffending rates.  How the encounters will operate will be set out in a new clause of the Crime and Courts Bill being debated in the House of Lords. Currently the practice of...

New 'stalking' offences introduced

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On 25th November 2012 a law was brought into force to create new offences of 'stalking'.  The new law creates three new offences of 'stalking', 'stalking involving fear of violence' and 'stalking involving serious alarm or...

Treatment for 'club drugs' rising

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The National Treatment Agency have issued a report indicating that the number of individuals who sought help for the effects of taking what are commonly known as 'club drugs' has risen over the last 6 years.  The sort of drugs that come...

Drunk driver jailed for 8 years

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Wilfred Museka pleaded guilty at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to causing death by dangerous driving, along with also admitting offences of fraud by false representation, driving without insurance and driving other than in accordance with a driving...

Prison outsourcing plans to be revised

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The Government appear to have taken a surprising u-turn on their prison policy after deciding to keep four of the nine prisons under state control that were due to be outsourced as part of it's prison privatisation programme. On the 8th November 2012,...

Prisons to do more to rehabilitate foreign inmates

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HMP Canterbury, a jail holding only foreign inmates, was found to have no offending behaviour programmes according to a report for the Chief Inspector of Prisons.  It was said that this was due to the belief that there was little benefit in addressing...

Juror jailed for contempt of Court

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A jury member who was found to have disclosed details of a jury's deliberations to a Defendant during their Crown Court criminal trial, has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Stephen Pardon, 42, was a serving juror on a case relating to a...

Trader jailed over teeth whitening product

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Barrington Armstrong-Thorpe of Clacton, who is 64 years of age, was sentenced to 16 months in prison following a full trial following which he was found guilty by the jury. The case was brought by Essex Trading Standards on the basis that Mr...

New plans to speed up justice

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The Criminal Justice Minister, Damian Green, has announced the plan and said it will be trialled outside of London including in Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham and it is hoped that the new system will enable conclusion of cases within weeks rather than...

New law proposed to disrupt the use of mobile phones in prisons

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The Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill will enable the Government to authorise Governors to use technology to detect and disrupt the use of mobile phones in prisons.  The Bill has the backing of the Ministry of Justice and it is hoped...

17 year jail sentences for lease fraud

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Amarjit Singh-Mann, Kamlesh Panchel and Jagjeet Chahal appeared before Harrow Crown Court for sentencing in relation to a conspiracy to defraud of which they had been found guilty in early October 2012.  The scheme involved them falsely claiming that...

Justice delayed!

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The Justice Committee has recently heard evidence from various professionals involved in care cases about the Government’s plan to impose a 26 week time limit for courts to conclude care cases.   Most professionals agreed that care cases are...

'Rape tweet' leads to further prosecutions

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The case arises from the prosecution and conviction of former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans who was imprisoned in April for a period of 5 years for raping a 19 year old woman. The new prosecutions relate to seven men and three women from the North...

Prison sentence for attacking referee

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James Barnett, 25, from West Drayton was sentenced to 1 year in prison for head butting a referee and repeatedly kicking him at a 6 a-side match in Berkshire in July 2012. The Football Association said it was delighted with the sentence and a spokesman said...

Constable sentenced over protected bird eggs

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Michael Upson, 52, appeared before Norwich Magistrates Court and admitted possessing eggs from protected birds including Marsh Harriers, Warblers, and Nightjars.  Mr Upson was arrested after RSPB inspectors and police officers searched his home. ...

Golf trophies - a new trend in scrap metal theft?

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For several years copper has been the target of many thefts due to the relatively high price of the metal sold as scrap.  For a long time lead has also been the subject of numerous thefts from roofs and other publicly accessible places.  ...

'Cell confession' leads to guilty verdict for murder

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Christopher Docherty-Puncheon was convicted by a majority verdict of the shooting of Lieutenant Colonel Robert 'Riley' Workman, following a 5 week trial at St Albans Crown Court. The Court heard that the 33 year old confessed to the killing of Mr...

Can brain injuries cause youngsters to commit crime?

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The study says that injuries of this nature can lead maturing brains to 'misfire' affecting judgement and the ability to control impulses.  The findings are very similar to a report by the Children's Commissioner for England and calls...

Six jailed over care home abuse

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Eleven care workers in all appeared before Judge Neil Ford QC for sentencing in relation to varying different charges of ill treatment, abuse or wilful neglect.  Five of the eleven were given suspended sentences, however six were made subject to...

Paedophile 'ring' jailed

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The four men were sentenced by Reading Crown Court and received what are referred to as 'indeterminate' sentences.  Simon Wyn-Davies 38 was sentenced after pleading guilty to 22 counts of rape on a child under the age of 13.  He...

Man jailed for Hillsborough assault

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In the recent game between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United at Hillsborough, Chris Kirkland, Sheffield Wednesday's goalkeeper, was assaulted by Aaron Cawley when Cawley ran onto the pitch and struck Mr Kirkland in the face.  Mr Cawley,...

Supreme Court ruling paves way for equal pay claims through civil courts allowing longer claim period

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A flood of equal pay claims is expected following a Supreme Court ruling allowing workers who miss the six-month deadline for claiming compensation through the employment tribunal to take their claim to the normal courts, where a six-year time limit applies....

Cameron: "Prisoners are not getting the vote"

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David Cameron has told parliament "no one should be under any doubt - prisoners are not getting the vote under this Government".  He did however offer a further Commons debate to "help put the legal position". It is believed that...

Reports recommends decriminalising some drug offences

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The current law is determined by the Misuse of Drug Act 1971 a piece of legislation that the commission say could never have anticipated, and was never designed to deal with such high levels of use as are currently found in England and Wales.  Nor did...

Children found after Judge orders a search

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In recent days, a High Court Judge took the unusual step of disclosing the names and identity of four children who had disappeared with their mother following a contact visit to her. The children lived with their father on the Spanish island of...

Prison sentence for offensive facebook posts

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Matthew Woods aged 20 of Chorley appeared at Chorley Magistrates Court where he admitted sending 'a grossly offensive public electronic communication'.  He had made a number of offensive posts on Facebook regarding April Jones and also Madeline...

Builder jailed for gross negligence manslaughter

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George Collier, 49, from Conwy had pleaded not guilty to gross negligence manslaughter atMold Crown Court.  He was charged following the death of 3 year old Meg Burgess in July 2008 who had been walking home with her mother when a wall constructed by Mr...

Man pleads guilty to damaging Rothko painting

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Wlodzimierz Umaniec (also known as Vladimir Umanets) who is 26 years of age was charged with criminal damage having allegedly written 'Vladimir Umanets '12.  A potential piece of yellowism' on Rothko's 'Black on Maroon' whilst at...

Essex men sentenced for manufacture of fake prescription drugs

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Nicholas Boys, Mark Rosson and Eric Rudance, appeared at Southend Crown Court and were sentenced in relation to a number of charges concerning possession and supply of controlled drugs and prescription only medicines online. One also faced a charge of...

Facebook criticised for encouraging violence

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His Honour Judge Nigel Gilmour was dealing with a case involving 17 year old Daniel Cannon who had got involved in a fight after what was described as 'disgraceful, pathetic and violent' exchanges between his brother and the victim of the offence via...

Man charged with rape on inaccurate DNA evidence

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DNA tests in the case were carried out by a private firm which wrongly linked the DNA of Adam Scott from Devon to an allegation of rape made by a woman in Manchester.  Mr Scott was charged on the 23rd October 2011, following the results of DNA tests...

Chief Constable guilty of gross misconduct

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The disciplinary proceedings were instituted when information was revealed that Sean Price, the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police may have used 'undue influence' when a female civilian employee was appointed to a role within the...

Boat race saboteur convicted

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Trenton Oldfield, 36, swam into the path of the boat race crews apparently to protest at government plans to 'sell off the NHS and snoop on electronic communications'.  He made his protest in front of millions of television viewers on the...

Prison officers sentenced over death in custody case

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Shaun Percy and his wife Lisa, were both working at HMP Preston on the 21st April 2011.  That night Christopher Oldham who was on remand faces charges of perverting the course of justice was found hanged in his cell.  Lisa Percy was the...

Five years for supplementing wages by fraud

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Jessica Harper aged 50, whilst working as head of fraud and security had submitted numerous false invoices from 2007 to 2011 leading to payments being made to herself totalling £2.4 million.   Ms Harper admitted fraud by abuse of position...

Police attempt to update DNA database

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It is hoped that in adding what is thought to amount just short of 12,000 former offenders to the national database it will assist in the police's attempt to solve hundreds of outstanding crimes.  The focus of the police campaign is said by the...

New guidelines to be issued regarding social media abuse

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The DPP's announcement came as the CPS decided not to bring charges against the Port Talbot Town FC midfielder, Daniel Thomas, who had been suspended since last month following an allegedly homophobic message that he posted on Twitter regarding...

Southend Beach attack case ends

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Rowan Diedrick, 29, was walking his two pet rottweilers along Southend Beach, when one of the rottweilers attacked a 7 year old boy in the sea and dragged him under water.  The boy's Grandmother pulled the dog away and it then turned on...

Senior Met officer arrested in phone hacking inquiry

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Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn who works in specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police has been accused of contacting the News of the World on the 11th September 2010 and providing them with information.  The Crown Prosecution Service...

'FROZEN FOOD' CIGARETTE SMUGGLERS JAILED

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Douglas Allison, the man cast as the ringleader of this operation, together with three others, Russell Baker, Terrence Crowhurst and Timothy Shaw were all due to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on the 19th September 2012.  Only Baker, Crowhurst and Shaw...

Licence to burgle?

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Joshua O'Gorman was part of a number of intruders that forced their way into the home of Andrew Ferrie and his wife Tracey, in the early hours of Sunday 2nd September 2012. One clear aggravating feature of this offence was the fact that O'Gorman was...

G20 Police Constable admits gross misconduct

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The hearing was told that PC Simon Harwood, who has been suspended, had twice offered to resign from the Metropolitan Police over the incident, however an officer who is suspended can only leave the Force with the approval of the Deputy Commissioner. Ian...

Further phone hacking charges

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The Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday that Lee Sandell is to be charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in relation to the Metropolitan Police investigation into alleged phone hacking.  Mr Sandell will appear at...

Illegal Downloads

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The issue of copyright infringement within the music industry is one that has increased exponentially as the internet and high-speed broadband has boomed. It is now estimated that 28% of all internet users access unauthorised services on a monthly basis. ...

Hillsborough criminal charges considered possible

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Wednesday's report revealed the extent of the police cover up following the disaster the panel having had unrestricted access to 450,000 documents over the last three years.  The report confirmed Lord Justice Taylor's finding in August 1989 that...

Imbalance in Justice for Vulnerable?

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The Prison Reform Trust has issued a briefing entitled 'Fair Access to Justice?'.  The briefing explains that whilst vulnerable witnesses appearing on behalf of the prosecution in Court are entitled to support, vulnerable Defendants do not have...

Changes to Sex Offender Registration Requirements

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Previously, offenders were required to notify police of all foreign travel lasting 3 or more days, however the new notification requirements require offenders to notify the police of all foreign travel.  In addition, offenders with no main residence are...

Police budget stretched by 'Essex Lion' Hunt

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Whilst it was a source of considerable amusement for the British public at large and the sort of gold dust that every newspaper or news desk editor dreams of, it has unfortunately meant considerable expenditure on what now seems to have been a well...

Suing a Foreign Trader before your own National Court

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The case concerned Miss Muhlleitner, domiciled inAustria, who searched on the internet for a car of German make, which she was purchasing for private use.  Miss Muhlleitner visitedGermanyto purchase the vehicle and took immediate delivery of it. ...

First Squatting Arrests

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Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade, was lending his support to Sussex Police in making the first arrests in the country using the new laws that came into force on 1st September.  Mr Weatherley confirmed that Sussex Police...

Asil Nadir convicted and jailed.

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Mr Nadir built Polly Peck International (PPI) from small beginnings as a fashion company to an international conglomerate, one of the stock exchange's best performing companies, which also appeared on the FTSE 100.  However, the share...

Lie Detector tests proposed for sex offenders.

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The government is seeking to reduce the chance of offenders re-offending on release by the use of compulsory polygraph tests, and state that two pilot schemes have shown signs that the measure has positive results.  The tests monitor heart rate, blood...

Ministry of Justice confirms Employment Tribunal fees

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At present taking a claim to an Employment Tribunal or appealing to the EAT is free of charge and funded by the tax payer.  The Ministry of Justice, however, has now confirmed it will introduce fees for users of the Employment Tribunal from the summer...

Home Office introduces new powers to curb drunken violence.

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There has long been concern about alcohol-fuelled violence and disorder as a result of late night drinking.  The Government has introduced draft legislation in the form of a bill to introduce the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011,...

Should Tweeters be held in contempt of Court?

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A number of the national newspapers have published articles questioning how those who tweet about ongoing Court cases appear to escape the proceedings for contempt that most newspapers feel that they would automatically be subject to, if they published...

'Loophole' closed to protect the vulnerable from abuse

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On Monday the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (Amendment) Act 2012, brings into force a new piece of legislation creating a charge to prosecute those who cause or allow physical harm to a child or vulnerable adult.  It will also create an offence...

Prison Break

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Unusually this is believed to have been an escape from inside the prison, not an escape whilst the prisoner was in transit as is more commonly the case.  Mr Massey was convicted in 1975 and is serving a life sentence as a result of the death of a man in...

RBS computer problems keep man in prison

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In certain cases a court can grant people with conditions that can include the payment of a security to the court, essentially to act as a promise, that the Defendant will attend court on future occasions. Because of the computer problems suffered by the...

Rogue Traders man admits fraud

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Dan Penteado who has been the motorbike-riding on-screen sidekick of Rogue Traders star Matt Allwright since 2001 appeared before Bournemouth Magistrates and his case has been adjourned for sentence to take place on 17 July 2012 following the...