Criminal law Appeal. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, dismissed a defendant's appeal against conviction and sentence following conviction for one count of making false representations and two counts of theft against two vulnerable elderly victims. The total sentence imposed was six years' imprisonment. The defendant had submitted that the judge had erred in allowing the cross-admissibility of the evidence relating to each count, had erred in his direction to the jury in respect of the admissibility of one of the victim's statements, and had erroneously allowed the evidence of a police officer to rebut claims of a conspiracy against him. Although the defendant found favour to some degree on some grounds, in the circumstances of the case over all, it was held that the conviction had not been rendered unsafe. Further, the sentence was deemed to be neither wrong in principle, nor manifestly excessive.
Criminal Law Trial. In December 2011, the appellant was convicted of assault against the victim. The justices found that an intimate relationship had existed between the victim and the appellant and that the appellant had not wished to admit to it in court because she had felt that her family would disapprove. They further found that the relationship had deteriorated and that there had been an argument during which the appellant had bit, slapped and attempted to strangle the victim with a scarf. The appellant appealed by way of case stated from the conviction decision. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that the justices had not misdirected themselves as to the relevance of the lies told by the appellant and that it was clear that the justices had applied the correct approach to the drawing of adverse inferences from matters the appellant should properly have mentioned in interview.
Criminal law Appeal. The defendant had been convicted of handling stolen goods, namely a motorcycle. It was said, amongst other things, that the vehicle identification number (VIN) had been false on the motorcycle in question. Following his conviction, the defendant's legal representatives made further investigations and it was determined that the VIN on the motorcycle had been genuine. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, in allowing the defendant's appeal, quashed his conviction and ordered that there should be no re-trial.
Extradition Extradition hearing. The appellant's extradition to Germany was ordered for 16 alleged offences of organised armed robbery. He appealed on the basis that the European arrest warrant had not contained adequate particulars. The Administrative Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that the statutory requirements had been adequately met. The appellant's alleged role had been clear, a fairly narrow gap of time had been given and failure to give specific addresses of each offence had not made the warrant invalid.
Criminal law Appeal. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, dismissed a defendant's appeal against conviction for murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The basis of the defendant's appeal focussed on a document, M8, made in the immediate aftermath of the offences. M8 was a record taken by the police of a telephone description given by a witness who later identified the defendant in an identification parade. M8, or the information contained in it, was not disclosed to the solicitor acting for the defendant before the identification parade. It was properly disclosed to the defence before the trial, but leading counsel decided that it should not be deployed in evidence. It was held that the non disclosure and subsequent non reliance of M8 had not rendered the convictions unsafe.
Sentence Imprisonment. The defendant pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods in respect of a cashintransit robbery and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years' detention in a young offender institution. He appealed against sentence after his co-defendant's sentence for the same offence was reduced on appeal. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division held that the sentence ought to be reduced to preserve the principle of parity between defendants. Accordingly, the sentence of three-and-a-half years' detention was quashed and substituted by a sentence of two years and six months' detention.
Sentence Imprisonment. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division provided guidance on the correct approach to non mandatory sentences of life imprisonment following the changes to the dangerous offender provisions found in chapter5 of Pt12 of the as amended by the effected by ss122-124 of the in circumstances where the three defendants appealed against life imprisonment sentences they received following guilty pleas to various offences committed.
Criminal law Appeal. The defendant had been convicted of one count of inflicting grievous bodily harm and one count of assault by beating. The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, dismissed his appeal against conviction in circumstances where he challenged the safety of the convictions by contending that the judge had: (i) failed to exercise his discretion to exclude evidence adduced from one of the victims as to his own good character; and (ii) intervened a number of times during the cross-examination of a defence witness. It was held that there had been nothing in the judge's conduct in respect of either contention raised by the defendant.
Sentence Suspended sentence. The defendant was a professed bicycle thief. He appealed against sentences imposed by a judge on the basis of an alleged error made by the sentencing judge in activating a suspended sentence. In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, held that, on the facts, the judge had always had in mind activating half of the suspended sentence and a simple correction of the court record could remedy an error in respect of the period of the suspended sentence to be activated.
*O'Neill (No 2) v Her Majesty's Advocate (Scotland); Lauchlan (AP) v Her Majesty's Advocate (Scotland)
Criminal law Trial. In 1998, the appellants were interviewed in respect of a murder, but were not formally charged. In April 2005, they were charged with the victim's murder. In May 2010, they were convicted of a number of sexual offences. In June, they were convicted of the victim's murder. The same judge presided over both trials. The appellants sought to appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds of undue delay and apparent bias. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals, holding that the date when the reasonable time for their prosecution had begun was when the appellants were formally charged in April 2005 and that there was no basis for the suggestion that the judge was apparently biased due to his involvement in both trials.