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Articles tagged with: Criminal

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[ 10 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
Should judges question vulnerable witnesses?

By Matthew Seys-Llewellyn
Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, has been in the news this week with the suggestion that vulnerable witnesses should be questioned by the Judge in the case rather than by counsel, and this idea should give us pause to reflect on both the role of the judge and the role of the advocate.
The English have traditionally viewed judges with a certain amount of distrust, perhaps because one man seemed easier to bribe than 12 men of the jury, or possibly because judges can become …

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[ 28 Mar 2014 | 2 Comments ]
Bar calls off action – views from the profession

By Rebecca Carter
In a turbulent week for criminal lawyers, the profession, until recently so united in protest against legal aid fee cuts, has voiced strong and mixed reaction to the Criminal Bar Association’s (CBA) decision to call off the imminent two days of action and their no returns policy.
The announcement from CBA Chairman Nigel Lithman QC came following a deal reached with the Ministry of Justice in which they agreed to suspend all fee cuts for graduated fee cases until the next general election in summer 2015: “This gives 89% …

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[ 13 Mar 2014 | No Comment ]
Oscar Pistorius: what’s the charge, and is there a defence?

By Felicity Gerry
International news is filled with the trial of Oscar Pistorius who is accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in South Africa on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
The prosecution case is that Ms Steenkamp was shot whilst behind a closed toilet door. There is no dispute that Mr Pistorius pulled the trigger more than once. The bullets were designed to expand on impact and each would probably have been fatal. This is a short summary of reports of evidence relating to the cause of death, which was …

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[ 10 Mar 2014 | No Comment ]
Reoffending reforms  – no refinement of relevance

By Lucy Corrin
The Government has today announced their long-awaited reforms to disclosure of previous convictions for rehabilitated offenders.
If someone is asked to disclose convictions, an unspent conviction must always be declared by the individual. This includes a recent conviction where the specified rehabilitation period has not come to end or a conviction for a serious offence, for example, where the sentence of imprisonment is over four years. This would never be “spent” within the meaning of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
 However, the Government has drastically reduced the periods before …

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[ 6 Mar 2014 | No Comment ]
Abortion counselling – why statutory regulation is needed

By Michelle Heeley
Abortion is an emotive subject, regardless of political persuasion. It is one of the few issues that genuinely has the ability to polarise opinion, with neither side likely to be persuaded to the other’s point of view.
Fortunately this country has not yet gone down the American route with abortion being played out as a party political issue. Generally, MPs are given a free vote on topics surrounding the issue with party leaders recognising that the whip could be difficult to enforce on an area dominated by personal views.
Recently, …