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Legal articles and expert perspectives
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Legal articles and expert perspectives
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Legal Articles and Expert Perspectives - Page 41 of 43

May
2012

Big Brother is Listening 4 min read
May 2, 2012
It is now common-knowledge that the police have at their disposal listening device technology, i.e. 'bugs'. In fact the type of technology involved is freely available to the public and the details are even sometimes disclosed to the defence, see e.g. in R v Allsop [2005] EWCA Crim 703, 17/3/05. This type of evidence gathering technique is clearly a valuable asset to the police as it can provide damming evidence and it is now being used more and more in certain types of cases; e.g. large drug conspiracy allegations. In this article we look at some of the evidential issues that should be considered when faced with this type of evidence. Read more

May
2012

Attacking Your Accuser 6 min read
May 2, 2012
Criminal Justice Act 2003 As we have mentioned in previous articles the Criminal Justice Act 2003 has been a radical piece of legislation. It is now largely in force and its impact is being felt in criminal trials up and down the country. The provisions relating to character evidence have been in force since 15th December 2004 (see R v Hanson and others, 22/3/05) and the Court of Appeal has dealt with at least two challenges already. Many readers will have some vague understanding that the new provisions now make it easier for a Defendant's previous convictions to go before the jury. But what about the Defendant's right to put into evidence the character of witnesses against him. This was previously taken for granted - that is no longer the case. Read more

May
2012

Informant Evidence: Tactics and Strategy 4 min read
May 2, 2012
What is an informer? A pedestrian who calls 999 after witnessing a crime is an 'informant' in that he or she is informing the police about a crime. That person may become a witness and there might be factual disputes about what the informant saw, but there can be no attack on the motives of the witness in assisting the police. Then there is the paid informant - this is altogether a different animal. The paid informant will be registered and have a police handler and will periodically provide intelligence to the police for reward. This sort of person is unlikely to become a witness in a trial. The prosecution would never reveal the identity of their informant, even if it were somehow relevant to the defence case. However, if this type of informer were to come out of the shadows and testify in Court then their credibility as a witness of truth would certainly be an issue - assuming the evidence was disputed by the accused. This is when tactical defending counts. Material relating to the credibility of the informer can be demanded, e.g. de-briefing notes, first accounts, meetings with officers etc. If there were any suggestion that the informer would expect reward for testifying then that would have to be disclosed to the defence; R v Smith (unrep.) 29th July 2004, para. 17. This might not be enough to exclude the informant's evidence from the trial, but it would help establish the informant's unreliability in the eyes of the jury. Read more

May
2012

Secret Hearings 5 min read
May 2, 2012
The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 Act introduced the current two-stage approach for disclosure. First the prosecution provide primary prosecution disclosure of any material which might undermine the case for the prosecution against the accused. Then the defence set out their case in a Defence Statement. Secondary disclosure is then made of material which might be reasonably expected to assist the accused's defence as disclosed by the statement. Read more

May
2012

What's New for Prisoners? 7 min read
May 2, 2012
In this article we hope to touch on some of the expected changes for the forthcoming year - we can't possibly hope to cover every topic or indeed any topic in depth - but this article should at least put you on notice of some of what may be in store for you this year. Read more

May
2012

Freezing Your Assets 4 min read
May 2, 2012
Techniques The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) is a complex piece of legislation and has been introduced gradually. The confiscation and restraint proceedings provisions were bought into force in March 2003. The authorities are now using their new found tools with increasing regularity. Here we will deal with just one aspect of the Act; Restraint Orders. Read more

May
2012

Confiscation Orders 6 min read
May 2, 2012
When facing a criminal trial it is all too easy to put all your energy into your defence. Some however will have one eye on the bigger picture. What happens to my assets if I do get convicted? Read more

May
2012

Guide to the New Terrorism Legislation - Rahman Ravelli Solicitors 7 min read
May 2, 2012
Background to the Law
Since the year 2000, anti-terror legislation in the United Kingdom has been the subject of much controversy due to its wide scope and seeming incompatibility with sections of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). To understand fully why such legislation has been passed by the Government, it is important to understand how and why the current law has developed. Read more

May
2012

Entrapment 6 min read
May 2, 2012
Some readers of this article will know all about test-purchase operations where under-cover officers will ask suspected street dealers for drugs - the officers will of course be 'wired for sound'. Other readers may be painfully aware of so-called 'participating informants' where a member of a group is also acting as a police informer. But the extent of under-cover police operations would surprise many. Rahman Ravelli solicitors alone have been involved in cases where an officer has pretended to be involved in the car-ringing business and even where an officer masqueraded as an under-cover contract killer for hire. These operations often lead to allegations by a defendant of entrapment. Entrapment is not a defence in English criminal law. However, if entrapment can be demonstrated then the case is likely to be stopped as an abuse of process or, at the very least, the evidence obtained excluded from any trial. Read more

May
2012

Informant Evidence 6 min read
May 2, 2012
What is an informer? A pedestrian who calls 999 after witnessing a crime is an 'informant' in that he or she is informing the police about a crime. That person may become a witness and there might be factual disputes about what the informant saw, but there can be no attack on the motives of the witness in assisting the police. Then there is the paid informant - this is altogether a different animal. The paid informant will be registered and have a police handler and will periodically provide intelligence to the police for reward. This sort of person is unlikely to become a witness in a trial. The prosecution would never reveal the identity of their informant, even if it were somehow relevant to the defence case. However, if this type of informer were to come out of the shadows and testify in Court then their credibility as a witness of truth would certainly be an issue - assuming the evidence was disputed by the accused. This is when tactical defending counts. Material relating to the credibility of the informer can be demanded, e.g. de-briefing notes, first accounts, meetings with officers etc. If there were any suggestion that the informer would expect reward for testifying then that would have to be disclosed to the defence; R v Smith (unrep.) 29th July 2004, para. 17. This might not be enough to exclude the informant's evidence from the trial, but it would help establish the informant's unreliability in the eyes of the jury. Read more

Legal Articles and Expert Perspectives

Rahman Ravelli

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