Prison categorisation

  Every prisoner is given a security category. For female prisoners, there are only two options, closed or open condition. For male prisoners, there are four categories, A to D. What do the categories mean? Female prisoners: Closed conditions are for female prisoners who present too high a risk for open conditions; these are for … Continued

Sexual abuse in schools

  Ofsted has announced a review into sexual abuse in schools. The review will consider the processes that schools, and colleges have in place regarding whether they are good enough to allow pupils to report abuse freely. Why conduct a review? A website, “Everyone’s Invited”, published anonymised accounts of sexual abuse – many of the … Continued

Non-disclosure and prejudice

  The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred several cases to the Court of Appeal, which involved allegations of public order related to trade union activity. They included the case of the actor Ricky Tomlinson who had been convicted in 1973 of conspiracy to intimidate, unlawful assembly and affray and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. There … Continued

Criminal entry ? Priti’s vacant proposals

  The government recently announced a range of proposals regarding immigration, but how does this affect criminal law? Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said it was the introduction of the most significant overhaul of the system in decades. The aim appears to be to prevent illegal entry into the UK, especially when people smugglers or … Continued

Line of Duty – What do all the acronyms mean ?

This week saw the new series of the BBC’s Line of Duty hit our screens, with another battle ahead for the police against serious organised crime. For those new to this drama, the first episode may well have been very confusing. The episode was clouded in layers of acronyms that a person not well versed … Continued

Good character as mitigation

What is good character?  As far as the criminal courts are concerned, a person of good character is usually someone without convictions or cautions recorded against them. It is of particular relevance in a trial situation as the court will consider good character in assessing the likelihood of you committing the offence and also your … Continued

GPS – keeping offenders on track ?

GPS tags The government has announced what it has called a “world-first scheme” to track certain offenders as they are released from prison. The proposal will make those convicted of burglary, theft or robbery wear a GPS tag on release from prison. The scheme follows from the use of sobriety tags, introduced last year in … Continued

Dog Thefts – is our Home Secretary trying to sell us a pup ?

On LBC radio this week the Rottweiler like Home Secretary Priti Patel expressed a recent rise in pet thefts as ‘absolutely shocking’ and said that she was in talks about upgrading pet theft to a more serious offence, meaning that more substantial penalties could apply. The results of a BBC freedom of information request showed … Continued

Encrochat

  A vast number of cases are awaiting a criminal trial that will rely, to a greater or lesser extent, on the admissibility of communications made via the supposedly highly encrypted Encrochat service. The Court of Appeal has now issued a ruling following preliminary rulings at Liverpool Crown Court. Whilst this ruling does not mean … Continued

BBC in the Dock

The British Broadcasting Corporation (‘BBC’) found itself in the embarrassing position of being fined £28,000 this week after admitting being in contempt of Court. Why was the BBC in trouble? On the morning of 17 November 2020, the BBC made a video and audio recording of half a day’s hearing in the Planning Court before … Continued

Witness Independence – too much of a coincidence?

    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, surely that is to be expected? But if we pause for a moment and consider a group of … Continued

Custody Time Limits & Young Defendants

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 for Kids Law, along with The Howard League for Penal … Continued