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[ 20 May 2014 | Comments Off ]
Abu Hamza – the ten-year battle

By Dan Bunting
To nobody’s surprise Abu Hamza was convicted on 19 May 2014 of 11 terrorism-related counts by a New York City federal jury. As wide as Halsbury’s Law Exchange remit is, it doesn’t extend to US criminal law, so we won’t be considering the actual terms of the trial and conviction that will mean that Mr Hamza sees out the rest of his days in a “SuperMax” prison. It is worth considering two important legal judgments that the ten-year battle to extradite him involved.
Abuse of Process/Extra-territorial effect
After being convicted …

Blog, Criminal, Human Rights »

[ 19 May 2014 | Comments Off ]
Prison for a day – the real issues continue to be ignored

By Lyndon Harris
Last week we read that the Centre for Social Justice, a think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, has promulgated a new approach to sentencing, based on an American model. Those of you who are not of tender years will recall another approach to sentencing we took from the Americans – the sentencing guidelines; look how well they have turned out.
The proposal
The CSJ cite the well-rehearsed statistics about recidivism and the number of breaches of non-custodial sentences.
The BBC reported:
“The CSJ report found 17,066 people had their sentence …

Blog, Criminal, Legal Profession & Courts »

[ 13 May 2014 | Comments Off ]
What can we learn from drug courts?

By Gillian McIvor (Interviewed by Natasha Mellersh)
Why were drug courts set up?
The introduction of drug courts in the UK has followed a slightly different trajectory to other jurisdictions, where drug courts filled an important gap in the range of community-based sanctions available to the courts to deal with drug-related crime.
In the UK some of the key features of drug courts (such as regular testing and judicial review) were incorporated into Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs), introduced through the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Shortly after the introduction of …

Blog, Criminal, Legal Profession & Courts »

[ 9 May 2014 | Comments Off ]
The Jeffrey’s Review – a challenge to the Bar

By Dan Bunting
On 7 May 2014 the report by Sir Bill Jeffrey on “Independent criminal advocacy in England and Wales”, the first of the triumvirate of reports into the state of the criminal justice system, was issued. It is a mixed bag. Many lawyers were hoping for more, specifically for ammunition in their battle with the MoJ, but that point is largely ducked. Whilst there is a lot that the (independent) bar can take comfort, and perhaps even pride in, make no mistake – however it is sugar-coated, this is …

Blog, Legal Profession & Courts »

[ 1 May 2014 | Comments Off ]
Operation Cotton – what next?

By Dan Bunting
When does the same Government that decides to prosecute someone have an obligation to ensure that that individual has representation?
That was the question that HHJ Leonard had to answer at Southwark Crown Court on 1 May 2014. The case is called “Operation Cotton” and, as the argument proceeded, featured five legally aided defendants. The argument got more media attention this week than it perhaps otherwise would because the legally aided defendants were represented by Alexander Cameron QC, who happens to be the brother of the Prime Minister (Cameron …