Indictments – The Basics

[Image credit: “The Royal Courts of Justice” by R/DV/RS is licensed under CC BY 2.0] 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

Secrets and spies

[Image credit: “Spies” by western4uk is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] The Official Secrets Act protects the United Kingdom from spying and leaks. The legislation dates back to 1911, 1920, 1939 and was last updated in 1989. Since then, there have been many advances in data technology and communications affecting the nature of unauthorised disclosures and espionage. As a

Knives – Cash for Surrender

[Image credit: “Money on my mind” by jo.sau is licensed under CC BY 2.0] The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 makes provision for the surrender of certain weapons. Sections 44, 46, 54 and 55 of the Act amend various pieces of legislation with the effect that it becomes an offence to possess certain dangerous knives, offensive weapons, firearms and ancillary

Transfer of Fibres – Major New Research Published

[Image credit: “Kapok fibre structure” by CORE-Materials is licensed under CC BY 2.0] 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

Fighting for a Suspended Prison Sentence

[Image credit: “Into the Prison” by Bill Nicholls is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] 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

Surveillance Society – Court of Appeal Puts Brakes on Police Scheme

[Image credit: “Surveillance” by jonathan mcintosh is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] Several police forces have been using facial recognition technology to detect suspects. Cameras placed in public places can scan thousands of faces as they pass by, matching those images with images on a database. The technology can assist in the apprehension of wanted offenders, and potentially track

Jurors – When They Misbehave

[Image credit: “Alternate Juror” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0] 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

Court Clarifies Release Provisions

[Image credit: “The Royal Courts of Justice” by R/DV/RS is licensed under CC BY 2.0] The High Court this week confirmed that the new release provisions, applying to some offenders, operate retrospectively. The court was hearing a challenge to the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020, which provides that persons convicted of certain offences will not be