Scanning of Prisoners – the story so far

  The introduction of X-ray body scanners (XRBS) as part of the Security Investment Programme includes installation of 75 scanners across 74 establishments by the end of March 2022. This initiative now covers the entire adult male closed prison estate. XRBS were installed in staggered waves over 15 months, with the first wave beginning in … Continued

Sexual Offences – Can the government afford its sentencing proposals

  The government is legislating to ensure that anyone sentenced for the offence of rape, and certain other serious sexual offences, no longer receives a determinate custodial sentence. Where neither a life sentence nor an extended sentence (‘EDS’) is served, the sentence will fall into the Sentence for Offenders of Particular Concern regime (‘SOPC’). A … Continued

“Tory Scum!” – Freedom of Speech?

In a recent case, the High Court was tasked with considering the implications of free speech in the context of public order offences. The case involved Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who was subjected to abuse whilst in the street accompanied by his wife and a colleague. The prosecution case was that in the … Continued

Imprisonment & Family Life

  A prisoner with an earliest release date in August 2027 made an application to the Prison Service in relation to participation in fertility treatment. His partner unfortunately suffers from fertility problems, which include a low number of eggs, polycystic ovaries and a blocked and leaking right fallopian tube. Therefore, the couple wished to explore … Continued

  “XL Bully” – Government Enacts Urgent Reforms The Dangerous Dogs (Designated Types) (England and Wales) Order 2023 was laid before parliament on 31 October 2023, which has important implications for the owners of the dog breed “XL Bully”. This statutory instrument will be accompanied by other legislative changes that form a package of laws … Continued

Firearms – Further Reforms

  The Firearms Act 2023 has received Royal Assent and when brought in to force, will introduce a number of regulatory and criminal law reforms. Miniature Rifle Ranges There is an exemption in firearms law (section 11(4) of the Firearms Act 1968) which allows a person to run a rifle range or shooting gallery where … Continued

Late Abortion Cases – Sentencing

  In July 2023, the Court of Appeal quashed a sentence of 28 months imprisonment and substituted a sentence of 14 months imprisonment, suspended for two years. The case concerned an offence of administering poison with intent to procure miscarriage, with respect to a pregnancy in the range of 32 to 34 weeks (so a … Continued

Rule of Law is under “grave threat”

  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 … Continued

Nitrous Oxide – Government acts to make possession illegal

  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. … Continued

Government bans machetes and zombie knives

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 … Continued

Suffocation – Sentencing stranglehold ?

  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 … Continued

Lucy Letby Handed a Whole Life Order

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 … Continued