Should you represent yourself in court?

    Many people ask this question, either because they know they are not eligible for legal aid or perhaps think they are not eligible, even though they have not checked this with a solicitor. A recent study by Dr Charlotte Walker of York St John University revealed the following: “In this study, in Court … Continued


  This week Nicholas Hawkes become the first person to be convicted for the new offence of “Cyber Flashing”. Hawkes sent unsolicited photos of his erect penis to a 15-year-old girl and a woman. The woman took screenshots of the image on WhatsApp and reported Hawkes to Essex Police the same day. Sefer Mani, of … Continued

Anti-Social Behaviour – You Could Lose Your Home

    There are lots of different offences that might be categorised as “anti-social behaviour”, and these are routinely prosecuted in the criminal courts. In many cases, the individual instances of criminality are towards the lower end of the scale. They are often met with punishment, such as a fine or low-level community order. If … Continued

Pregnant Prisoner – A Get Out of Jail Card?

  There has been a lot of press coverage following reports before Christmas that the Court of Appeal had freed a woman prisoner due to her being pregnant. The lady had previously received a mandatory five-year minimum term for a firearms offence, so the revelation that the sentence was reduced to two years imprisonment and … Continued

Immigration – Illegal Entry – A pointless deterrent ?

    Immigration – Illegal Entry  We have witnessed an increase in prosecutions for illegal entry into the UK or otherwise known as “small boat cases” . These are relatively arbitrary prosecution mounted against individuals selected for prosecution as a deterrent. The criteria as to who qualifies for prosecution is unclear.  The Nationality and Borders … Continued

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