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Football banning orders are made by the courts to help prevent violence or disorder at, or in connection with, regulated football matches. An individual with a banning order is prevented from attending all regulated matches in the UK and may be required to hand over their passport to the police before overseas matches and tournaments. Banning orders are issued either following a conviction for a football-related offence or following a complaint by a local police force, British Transport Police (BTP), or the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). A football banning order lasts for a minimum of 3 years and no more…
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Police are currently investigating the causes of a fire that destroyed the Crooked House Pub near Dudley, causing a lot of people to wonder about the laws of criminal damage. Generally speaking, a person can damage, which includes setting fire to, their property. So, if you no longer want an item, you can, in most cases, chuck it in the bin, destroy it with a hammer or if it takes your fancy, set a match to it.
Monday, 19 February 2024 12:36

Cyclists In the Spotlight

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On the 12th September 2023, Andrea Leadsom MP posed this question to Edward Argar MP who is a Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice: 'What conversations has my right hon. Friend had across government to make sure that the sentencing for those convicted of dangerous cycling is equalised with the sentencing guidelines for those convicted of dangerous driving?' Andrea Leadsom had proposed a ten minute rule bill in 2011 which was designed to ensure that deaths and injuries caused by cyclists would attract the same sentences as those caused by motorists, but it did not become law. The…
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The outgoing Chief Inspector of Probation has issued a damning report. He is calling for an independent review of whether the Probation Service should return to local control two years on from unification into a national service. The Chief Inspector reports, in an overall assessment that: 'The Probation Service is struggling. It's more than two years since the unification of probation back into the public sector as a single national service. I said at the time that this was unlikely to be the silver bullet many were hoping for. Sadly, this has now proved to be the reality. Yes, there…
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Possession of nitrous oxide, also known as 'laughing gas', will be illegal by the end of the year. The ban was promised as part of the Government's Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, with the Home Secretary urging police forces to get tougher on flagrant drug taking in the streets, which is said to blight communities. Secondary legislation was passed on Tuesday 12 September which will control nitrous oxide as a Class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The new measures are expected to come into force by the end of the year. Those found in unlawful possession of…
Monday, 19 February 2024 12:28

Rule of Law is under "grave threat"

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Cross-party legal reform charity, JUSTICE has this week published a landmark report describing how the rule of law in the UK has "regressed significantly on multiple fronts" and threatens the very democratic fabric of our nation. The rule of law is a set of principles, fundamental to our constitution, that seeks to ensure that everyone, including the State itself, is bound by, and entitled to the benefit of, publicly-made laws administered in the courts.  It is vital, both for the public at large, who expect the State to behave in a responsible manner and for the marginalised, to ensure due…
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IPP sentences were indeterminate sentences handed down by courts in England and Wales between 2005 and 2012. They were used for offenders considered to pose a significant risk of causing serious harm to the public until they no longer represented such a risk. When first introduced, these sentences were mandatory in all cases of conviction for a ‘serious offence’, which included more than 50 specified crimes. This led to a larger than expected number of people being sentenced under the scheme (8,711 in total). The cancellation of the scheme was not retrospective. Nearly 2,900 people were still serving IPP sentences…
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A feature of many miscarriages of justice cases is the malign influence of dishonest police officers who have managed to stay in post despite many years of red flags having been raised in some cases. Recent tragic cases, such as the murder of Sarah Everard, have brought this issue to the forefront of policing. Now, the government has stated that it will act urgently to remove unsuitable officers from their jobs. The law will be changed to ensure all officers must be appropriately vetted during their service and to enable officers who fail a re-vetting test whilst in post to…
Friday, 24 November 2023 13:19

Government bans machetes and zombie knives

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Much has been written this week on government plans to "ban" machetes and zombie knives, and claims that possession would be made "illegal". The government said: "Machetes and zombie-style knives with no practical use will be banned and police will have more powers to seize them in a bid to crack down on their use in devastating street violence. Under the measures, machetes and knives that are designed to look intimidating and threatening, known as zombie-style knives, will be made illegal. The maximum penalty for the importation, manufacturing, possession and sale of these newly proscribed weapons will also be increased…
Thursday, 12 October 2023 11:44

Strangling/Suffocation - Sentencing

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A new offence of strangling/suffocation came into force on 7 June 2022, and we have previously written about the case of Cook [2023] EWCA Crim 452, which sets out comprehensive sentencing principles for judges. In Cook, the Court of Appeal commented: "In view of the inherent conduct required to establish this offence a custodial sentence will be appropriate, save in exceptional circumstances. We consider that ordinarily that sentence will be one of immediate custody." These two sentences have caused difficulties, which the Court of Appeal addressed in a recent ruling. The danger for judges is conflating the first two sentences…
Tuesday, 22 August 2023 14:01

Lucy Letby Handed a Whole Life Order

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On Friday, 18 August 2023, the Jury returned its final verdicts in the trial of nurse Lucy Letby.  Letby was convicted of murdering seven babies in her care and attempting to murder six more. The Jury were discharged from reaching verdicts concerning four other babies. On Monday, 21 August, Letby was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order under schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (also schedule 21 Sentencing Act 2020). The starting point of a whole life order will be satisfied if the following tests are met: (1) If— (a) the court considers that the…
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Appeals in relation to the removal of firearms licenses are heard in the Crown Court and the practice and procedure surrounding such hearings has been settled for many decades. In a recent case the question arose as to whether a Crown Court has the power to receive evidence in secret. The Facts Trevor Scott, held a shotgun certificate until 5 August 2019. On 1 May 2019 and then on 30 July 2019, police officers visited him at home. On both occasions, officers noted that Scott was aggressive towards officers, and was controlling over his partner. All officers expressed concern about…
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Fans are being warned they face being banned from football matches – and next year’s Men’s European Championships – if they commit tragedy-related abuse as prosecutors publish additional guidance this week. The Crown Proseuction Service has updated its prosecution guidance on football related offences which reconfirms that tragedy-related abuse can be prosecuted as a public order offence. The guidance, which assists prosecutors when making legal decisions on cases, set out how lawyers can apply for Football Banning Orders which not only stop fans attending matches, but also can impose other restrictions, such as not being able to travel to certain…
Wednesday, 26 July 2023 11:10

Homicide - What do the figures show?

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Homicide is the killing of one person by another. It accounts for a very small proportion of deaths each year in England and Wales; for the most recent five years of mortality data, from 2017 to 2021, homicides accounted for one in every 800 deaths. Historical data on recorded homicides in England and Wales is published by the Office for National Statistics. Since records began in 1898, the number of homicides recorded has increased from around 300 a year, to over 500 a year since the 1970s. The number of offences peaked in 2003 but has since fallen.  Homicide rates…
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