ICLR Criminal Law Updater (November – December 2014)

Posted on 8th Jan 2015 in Criminal Law, Law Reporting

Welcome to the ICLR Criminal Law Updater for November and December 2014. Here’s our round up of the reportable and unreportable criminal cases decided in the High Court, the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the UK Supreme Court over the last four weeks. Where a transcript is available on BAILII, a linked reference has been provided.

Reportable Cases

R v V 

18 Nov 2014, [2014] WLR (D) 498, CA

CRIME — Fraud — Fraud by abuse of position — Defendants allegedly acting as gangmasters without licence withholding employees’ earnings and charging inflated rents — Whether employers “expected” to safeguard financial interests of defendants — Whether gangmasters without licence falling outside ambit of section — Fraud Act 2006, s 4 — Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, s 12(1)

The meaning of the word “expect” in section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006 was objective. Section 4 did not apply in the general commercial area where individuals and businesses competed in markets of one kind or another, including labour markets and were entitled to and expected to look after their own interests.

R v Brennan  

21 Nov 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2387  [2014] WLR (D) 502, CA

CRIME — Homicide — Diminished responsibility — Defendant charged with murder — Uncontradicted defence expert evidence that defendant’s mental disorder significant contributory factor causing him to kill — Defendant convicted of murder — Whether right to continue prosecution on murder charge — Homicide Act 1957, s 2 (as amended by Coroners and Justice Act 2009, s 52)

Where, on a charge of murder, there was uncontradicted expert evidence to the effect that a defence of diminished responsibility was made out and the defendant applied at the close of evidence for the case of murder to be withdrawn, the judge should not leave the case of murder to the jury simply because the Crown wanted it to be left to the jury, but should evaluate whether a properly directed jury could properly convict of murder.

R v Adebolajo  

03 Dec 2014, [2014] WLR (D) 519, CA

CRIME — Homicide — Murder — Defendant claiming to be soldier of Allah so that killing was in course of war and not unlawful — Whether amounting to defence to murder for consideration by jury

A defendant’s claim that he was a soldier of Allah who was, or believed himself to be, engaged in a war or rebellion against the United Kingdom, did not amount to a defence to a charge of the murder of an off-duty soldier.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority v First-tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) (British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Birthrights intervening)  

04 Dec 2014, [2014] EWCA Civ 1554  [2014] WLR (D) 520, CA

CRIME — Malicious administration of poison — “Any other person” — Mother consuming excessive amounts of alcohol while pregnant — Child born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder causing permanent injury — Whether child victim of violent crime as a result of mother’s excessive drinking while in womb — Whether foetus “any other person” to whom poison administered so as to cause grievous bodily harm — Whether child entitled to criminal injuries compensation as innocent victim of violent crime — Offences Against the Person Act 1861, s 23

A mother who drank alcohol to excess while she was pregnant, resulting in her child being born with permanent damage from foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, was not criminally liable for administering poison to “any other person” so as to inflict grievous bodily harm contrary to section 23 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Because a foetus was not “any other person” for the purposes of section 23, and the harm had been inflicted on the child while she was in the womb, the child was not entitled to criminal injuries compensation.

R v Shahabi-Shack  

11 Dec 2014, [2014] WLR (D) 533, CA

CRIME — Firearms — Possession of  —  Possession of firearm authorised subject to condition — Firearm adapted so that condition no longer met — Whether adaptation rendering firearm prohibited weapon so that possession unlawful — Firearms Act 1968, s 5(1)(aba) (as inserted by Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, s 1(2)) — Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, s 3

Adaptations to an authorised firearm might render it a prohibited weapon for the purposes of section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 if they involved breach of the conditions of the related firearms certificate.

R (M) v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary

(Secretary of State for the Home Department intervening) 18 Dec 2014, [2014] EWCA Civ 1651 [2014] WLR (D) 541, CA

HUMAN RIGHTS — Sex offender — Informal visits by police — Police having powers of entry and search of home of offender subject to notification requirements — Police able to visit house informally and gain entry by consent — Whether informal visits involving unlawful interference with Convention rights — Whether entry and search greater burden on offender than notification requirements — Whether absence of procedure to review its application separately from notification requirements disproportionate and unlawful interference with rights — Sexual Offences Act 2003, s 96B (as inserted by Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, s 58)

Informal visits by the police officers to a registered sex offender’s home seeking entry by consent were in accordance with the law. The scheme for the protection of vulnerable persons from sex offenders as a whole was not disproportionate.

National Crime Agency v Robb  

23 Dec 2014, [2014] EWHC 4384 (Ch)  [2015] WLR (D) 1, Ch D ( Sir Terence Etherton C )

PROCEEDS OF CRIME — Civil recovery — Tracing remedy — Principles to be applied — Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s 281

The court gave guidance on the hearing of applications brought by victims of fraud under section 182 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as to the principles to be applied in following and tracing recoverable property obtained by the defendant through unlawful conduct.


Other cases of interest

Director Of Public Prosecutions v Richardson

27 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2075, DC

CRIME — Practice — Criminal proceedings — Court unable to establish video link — Prosecution applying for adjournment — Justices refusing application — Whether justices erring

Dixon v Kingdom of Spain  

10 Nov 2014, [2014] UKPC 38   [2014] CN 1946, PC

CRIME — Extradition — European arrest warrant — Principle of non-retrospectivity — Whether surrender would violate principal — Gibraltar Constitution, s 8(4)

R v Ali (Imitaz)  

19 Nov 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2388   [2014] CN 2080, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Confiscation

R v Bennett  

19 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2070, CA

CRIME — Evidence — Judge’s chronology — Cell site evidence of mobile telephone calls allegedly linking defendants — Whether judge erring in producing and putting before jury chronology of cell site evidence — Whether convictions unsafe

R v Berberi  

16 Dec 2014 ,    [2014] CN 2209, CA

CRIME — Drugs — Conspracy to supply — Possessing criminal property — Evidence about Albanian custom to hold large amounts of cash — Whether evidence wrongly excluded

R v Blake (Melvern)  

02 Dec 2014 , [2014] CN 2116, CA

CRIME — Appeal — Practice — Defendant applying for permission to appeal — Application made purely on basis of defendant’s assertion — Failure by legal advisers to check circumstances — Purported withdrawal of application by legal advisers following telephone call with applicant — Whether withdrawal effective — Whether appeal frivolous or vexatious

R v Clifford 

07 Nov 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2245   [2014] CN 2066, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Sentencing guidelines

R v de Silva 

17 Dec 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2616   [2014] CN 2234, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Life imprisonment — Judge imposing minimum term of 32 years on 19-year-old murderer — Whether sentence manifestly excessive

R v George (Dwaine Simeon)

09 Dec 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2507   [2014] CN 2170, CA

CRIME — Homicide — Murder — Evidence of gunshot residue — Application of new forensic guidelines

R v Goodwyn  

05 Dec 2014, [2014] EWCA Crim 2613   [2014] CN 2168, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Imprisonment for public protection — Defendant convicted of sexual offences against young girls and considered to pose risk of serious harm to children — Sentence of IPP unlawful because offences committed before IPP came into force — Appropriate sentence to protect public

R v Gordon (Rory Mark)  

02 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2166, CA

CRIME — Homicide — Murder/Manslaughter — Sentences — Whether sentences wrong in principle or manifestly excessive

R v Huq (Abdul)  

09 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2171, CA

CRIME — Sexual offences — Rape — Sexual activity with a child — Whether summing up sufficient on identification issue — Whether sentences manifestly excessive

R v L (B)  

04 Dec 2014 , [2014] CN 2131, CA

CRIME — Sexual offences — Rape — Sentence — Specimen count — Whether sentence correctly determined on basis of rape on several occasions — Whether sentence unduly lenient — Whether sentence manifestly excessive — Sexual Offences Act 2003, s 1

R v Malik (Waqaas)  

04 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2132, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Conspiracy to rob — Whether finding of dangerousness justified — Whether sentence manifestly excessive

R v Matthews (Andrew)  

26 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2092, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Judge granting certificate of fitness to appeal — Whether appropriate

R v Mikhaimar  

26 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2043, CA

CRIME — Jury — Jurors’ conduct — Police officer juror accessing police room in court complex during trial — Second juror asleep during evidence — Whether jurors should have been discharged

R v Nazish  

16 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2210, CA

CRIME — Sexual offences — Sexual assault — Defendant’s medical condition at time of interview not fully known to jury — Fresh evidence — Whether trial unfair

R v Oronsaye  

09 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2172, CA

CRIME — Offences against the person — Wounding with intent — Fresh evidence — Whether fresh evidence to be admitted

R v Pipe  

18 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2054, CA

CRIME — Sexual offence — Complainant —  Complainant becoming very distressed whilst giving evidence — Judge ruling that complainant could stop giving evidence and that trial should continue — Whether trial fair

R v Pollard  

05 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 1907, CA

CRIME — Sexual offences — Rape — Defendant convicted of anal rape when indictment should have charged buggery — Whether alternative conviction of indecent assault could be substituted — Sexual Offences Act 1956 (as amended by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, s 142), ss 1, 12

R v Price  

04 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2142, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Confiscation order

R v R (W) 

17 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2216, CA

CRIME — Child abuse — Cruelty —  Delay in prosecution — Proceedings terminated by order of Crown Court — Whether decision to terminate proceedings unreasonable

R v Sadeghi  

17 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2217, CA

CRIME — Identity document — Possessing false identity document — Defendant arriving in United Kingdom en route to seeking asylum elsewhere — Apprehended attempting to leave United Kingdom by presenting false identity document — Prosecution for use of false documents — Failure to rely on statutory defence available to refugees — Whether conviction could be sustained — Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, s 31 — Identity Documents Act 2010, s 4

R v Sheikh (Abdul)  

25 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2032, CA

CRIME — Sentence — Confiscation order — Delay by prosecution — Absence of inconvenience or prejudice to defendant — Whether ”exceptional circumstances” for postponing proceedings more than six months after date of conviction — Drug Trafficking Act 1994, s 3

R v Thomas (Christopher)  

18 Nov 2014, [2014] CN 2003, CA

CRIME — Murder — Evidence — Expert evidence — Witness treated as hostile witness — Whether case to answer — Whether trial judge misdirecting jury in relation to expert evidence — Whether witness wrongly treated as hostile witness

R v Wheeler (Stephen)  

04 Dec 2014, [2014] CN 2133, CA

CRIME — Mens rea — Attempt —  Attempt to acquire criminal property — Knowledge or belief that property criminal property — Prosecution on basis of defendant’s suspicion — Whether suspicion sufficient — Criminal Attempts Act 1981, s 1(1) — Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s 327(1)

Serious Fraud Office v Evans  

14 Nov 2014, [2014] EWHC 3803 (QB)   [2014] CN 2013, QBD ( Fulford LJ )

CRIME — Indictment — Voluntary bill — Court dismissing charges alleging conspiracy to defraud — Prosecuting authority seeking voluntary bill of indictment — Whether judge erring in dismissing charges — Whether grant of voluntary bill in interests of justice

About the citations in this Updater

There are four types of citation included in this updater:

  • Neutral Citations (e.g. [2014] EWCA Crim 1196) – these are publisher-neutral case references. These references, when clicked, will refer you to BAILII (where a transcript of the decision is available).
  • References to published law reports (e.g. [2014] 1 WLR 123) – these are references to the various series of law reports published by ICLR. These references, when clicked, will refer you to the law report of the case on ICLR Online. Please note that you must be an ICLR Online subscriber to access these cases.
  • References to the WLR Daily (e.g. [2014] WLR (D) 265) – these are references to the case summary service provided by ICLR. The WLR (D) case summaries are reserved for those cases that appear to be reportable and are free to acess.
  • ICLR Case Notes (e.g. [2014] CN 973) – these are summaries of unreportable cases and are only accessible to registered ICLR Online subscribers.