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

Money Laundering – A Double Penalty?

  It is prevalent for money laundering offences (under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) to be charged alongside other alleged criminality, particularly drug offences. Whilst dealing with the monetary gains from offending will indeed amount to a separate money laundering offence, it raises the question of how those offences should be sentenced. The approach … Continued

Environment Agency Seeks Enhanced Powers

The Environment Agency is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of a great many regulatory and criminal offences. As an alternative to criminal prosecution financial sanctions can be imposed in accordance with the Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010. In an announcement this week, the Agency stated that it was seeking to lift the current … Continued

Youth Justice – the improtance of quality representation

The Youth Justice Legal Centre (YJLC) and the Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research (ICPR) at Birkbeck have published groundbreaking research on the quality of legal representation in the youth justice system. The findings cement the urgent need for clear guidance around training for solicitors to ensure children are adequately represented. The research found: … Continued

Government Launches Pornography Review

The Government has announced a Review will investigate gaps in UK regulation that allows exploitation or abuse to take place online, as well as identifying barriers to enforcing criminal law. As the way we consume media and access content rapidly changes, the Review will investigate any gaps in UK regulation which allows exploitation and abuse … Continued

Drug Offences – Is paying off drug debt a financial motivation?

    In a recent case, an offender offered the following by way of mitigation: ‘[He] said that he owed a gang £25,000 for his passage to the United Kingdom. He now said that he had initially been working on a construction site and had moved to work where the cannabis was being grown some … Continued

Driving Offences – New Sentencing Guidelines

The Sentencing Council has published 12 new and revised sentencing guidelines for offenders convicted of motoring offences in England and Wales. The new and revised guidelines, which apply to adults only, will come into effect on 1 July 2023. The changes include updated versions of six current guidelines that were published in 2008 and reflect … Continued