Sentencing outside of the guidelines

The courts are provided with guidelines to assist in determining the appropriate sentence for a wide, and ever-expanding, range of offences. The guidelines provide guidance on factors the court should take into account that may affect the sentence given. Different levels of sentence are set out based on the harm caused and how blameworthy, or

Expert evidence

Expert evidence is used to provide information to the court, which is likely to be outside of the knowledge of the magistrates, judge or jury. Opinion evidence can be given if the expert is qualified to provide such an opinion. Duty of an expert witness An expert is under a duty to help the court

Covid 19 Lockdown – the law

Covid 19 Lockdown – the law The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 imposes several restrictions. Over the last week, the police have been keen to enforce compliance, even calling out the MP Stephen Kinnock over social media for visiting his father on his birthday. Given the importance of protecting the NHS, it is

Trial Delays

A defendant has the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time. In exceptional cases, a delay will lead to a stay of proceedings as an abuse of process. A stay of proceedings is an extremely rare outcome, with the Court of Appeal making the following observation in R v PS [2013] EWCA Crim


The use of intermediaries during criminal trials is becoming increasingly commonplace. An intermediary may be used to assist any witness, including a defendant, give evidence. The functions of an intermediary “Intermediaries are communication specialists (not supporters or expert witnesses) whose role is to facilitate communication between the witness and the court, including the advocates. Intermediaries

Criminal Justice and Coronavirus

As the UK prepares to move into the ‘delay phase’, changes are expected to criminal justice procedure. So, what might be expected to change? Criminal Investigations In the event of any public disorder, work on low priority criminal investigations may slow or stall entirely as police resources are diverted elsewhere. Most police custody suites hold

Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial evidence is widely misunderstood, and many people cannot understand how a case can be advanced without primary evidence of wrongdoing. To illustrate this, we can use two examples relating to burglary. Burglary can be committed in quite a few different ways, but the most common allegation is that a person entered a building as