Witness Independence – too much of a coincidence?

[Image credit: ““Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes” –Maggie Kuhn. Cringle Park, Levenshulme, Manchester” by dullhunk is licensed under CC BY 2.0) Very often in criminal cases, several witnesses give similar and sometimes almost identical evidence. At first blush, if all the witnesses were at the same place, at the same time and witnessing the same event,

Judge as Referee

[Image credit: “File:Massimo Busacca, Referee, Switzerland (10).jpg” by Steindy (talk) 11:44, 19 June 2011 (UTC) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) It is often said that the function of a Judge during a jury trial, is to act as referee as between prosecution and defence. Whilst a Judge is not entirely side-lined the expectation is that no bias will

Custody Time Limits & Young Defendants

[Image credit: “Camberwell Green Youth Court” by secretlondon123 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the government introduced changes to the custody time limit regulations that extended the custody time limits in the Crown Court by two months to address ongoing delays in the criminal justice system worsened during the pandemic. In September, Just

Firearms – New sentencing guidelines

[Image credit: “Hand Gun” by Lala Photography at JoLi Studios Colchester is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) Eight new guidelines have been published for Firearms offences following an earlier consultation. The guidelines will come into force on 1 January 2021. What are sentencing guidelines? These are guidelines that must be followed by sentencers. The guidelines must be followed unless

Custody time limits & Covid19

[Image credit: “Coronavirus COVID 19” by https://www.vperemen.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0) Whenever a person is remanded in custody in criminal proceedings, a time limit is set within which the trial must be concluded. The Covid lockdown meant that trials were temporarily suspended leading to issues with custody time limits, if a trial cannot

E-scooters

[Image credit: fullstoppr/13256567) Did you know that e-scooters fall within the definition of a motor vehicle? You would not be alone if you said no. Due to the growing popularity of e-scooters and general ignorance in respect of the laws governing them, the Metropolitan Police have issued an open letter to retailers to warn purchasers

Firearms

[Image credit: File:2018-10-07 Shooting at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Boys’ 10 metre air rifle (Martin Rulsch) 047.jpg” by Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 A firearms consultation has been launched this week to seek views on enhanced security for powerful rifles, introducing licensing controls on miniature rifle ranges, and tougher controls on ammunition. Why

Plying for hire

[Image credit: “Das letzte Taxi” by zak mc is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] It is an offence to “ply for hire” without a licence. The offence comes from the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847, section 45 states it is an offence for a person to allow a vehicle (referred to as a carriage) to be used as

Pre-charge Engagement

[Image credit: “Cumbria police car” by 28704869 is licensed under CC BY 2.0] New guidelines take effect in the next few weeks, which will promote pre-charge engagement between the defence and police. What is pre-charge engagement? Pre-charge engagement refers to voluntary engagement between the parties to an investigation after the first police (PACE) interview, and before any suspect has