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

Losing Your Home For a Crime You Did Not Commit

[Image credit: “Henry Street sign” by Adrian Cable is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] It is now a common feature of criminal cases that confiscation of an offender’s assets is considered following conviction. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 is designed to prevent a person from benefiting from the proceeds of crime. Typical Scenario “Jack and Jill have been

Sexual Offences and the Issue of Consent

[Image credit: “Intimacy at New Year #1” by Thijs Paanakker is licensed under CC BY 2.0] A vast number of sexual offence cases revolve around the issue of consent. In everyday terms, the ‘consent issue’ should be straightforward, either someone did, or did not, consent to sexual intimacy. In real life, particularly in the context of sexual relationships, deciphering

No Free Ride for Private Prosecutors

[Image credit: “£50 note” by HowardLake is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] A peculiar aspect of the criminal costs regime is that a private prosecutor can apply for their costs to be paid by the State, regardless of whether they win or lose the case. This situation allows persons to pursue prosecutions which other bodies such as the Crown

Sentencing – Beware the Cliff Edge

[Image credit: “Cliffs of Moher” by Ian Capper is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] Ellis Thomas pleaded guilty to a relatively minor public order offence and was sentenced to a community penalty. This penalty becomes the subject of Court of Appeal proceedings due to the following set of facts: “It was imposed on the appellant in the Crown Court