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    2009-06-30

    Police and Crime Bill 2008 - 09(currently at committee stage)

    Key areas:-
    Introduces new provisions to improve police accountability and effectiveness (although the Government's plans for directly elected police authorities, which provoked some controversy, have not been included in the Bill)
    Creates a new offence of paying for sex with someone who is controlled for gain and introduces new powers to close brothels
    Modifies the law on soliciting
    Tightens up the regulation of lap-dancing clubs by reclassifying them as 'sex establishments' rather than 'entertainment' venues
    Amends police powers to deal with young people drinking in public
    Introduces a new mandatory code of practice for alcohol sales
    Amends the criminal asset recovery scheme established under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
    Changes the arrangements for airport security and policing.

    Coroners and Justice Bill 2008 - 09 (currently at committee stage)

    Key areas:-
    Reforms the law relating to death certification and coroners, requiring some inquests to be heard without a jury
    Amends the defences of diminished responsibility and provocation in homicide cases
    Simplifies language in the offence of assisting or encouraging suicide
    Removes an exemption for 'discussion or criticism' in the new offence of inciting hatred on grounds of sexual orientation
    Extends the law proscribing possession of child pornography to include non-photographic images
    Increases flexibility in the help given to vulnerable witnesses giving evidence
    Changes rules on live links for defendants
    Reforms the system of granting bail in murder cases
    Makes changes to legal aid
    Introduces measures to prevent offenders profiting from accounts of their crimes.

    All current Bills before Parliament

    R (on the application of Wood) v Commisioner of Police for the Metropolis 2009
    Police photographing case - decision reversed

    The decision in Wood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis which originally found in favour of the police has been overruled. Although the mere taking of photographs of a person in a public place did not interfere with their privacy, the retention and use of those photographs had to be justified in each case.

    Re: Farrelly and Others 2009
    Use of power of arrest where person attends voluntarily.

    Although a Northern Ireland case it is still of interest and can be persuasive authority. Claims of wrongful arrest due to the arresting officer either failing to consider whether the arrest was necessary, or where it was considered necessary, the opinion reached was insufficient or unsustainable. Some consideration as to the feasibility of reaching the same conclusion through questioning a suspect as a voluntary attender should be a prerequisite to a finding that arrest is necessary.

    R v Chaney 2009
    Identification from CCTV images by way of recognition not breach Code D

    A police officer (A) who was not a party to the investigation, but knew C in relation to another unrelated matter, received an e-mail consisting of still images from the CCTV footage. A was asked to provide his thoughts regarding the fact that other officers believed the man in the images was C. Code D was not directly applicable in this instance following guidance given in the case of R v Smith (2008) EWCA Crim 1342. The jury had A's reaction and what he had said in his printed response to the e-mail. That response had not been created in contemplation of him giving evidence therefore there was nothing to suggest that his reaction was anything other than spontaneous and genuine.

    Re McE: Re M: Re C 2009
    Covert surveillance of communications between lawyer and client permitted under RIPA

    All had been arrested and detained on unrelated matters. The police had been asked to give them all assurances that their consultations with solicitors and medical professionals would not be subjected to covert surveillance. The police actually neither confirmed nor denied that this would occur. All three then asked the court to determine whether they were entitled to undertake such consultations without being monitored and that it was unlawful of the police to neither confirm nor deny whether they would undertake such action. Parliament had intended that the provisions of RIPA covering covert surveillance should extend to those that were usually protected by legal privilege. The reasons are complex, but a brief general summary was given. Section 28 of RIPA overrules the right of a person to consult in private with a legal adviser at common law. There is no absolute prohibition on the surveillance in instances such as in this case for the purpose of human rights, but the court recognised there is requirement for proportionality.

    R(on the application of Faisaltex Ltd and Others) v Crown Court at Preston and Another
    Computer and hard disk are 'material' and a single item rather than a container of several items.

    Claim in respect of a variety of search warrants executed on different sets of premises in respect of a case by the police and HMRC. The matters regarded suspected a large scale importation and exportation of counterfeit clothing and related offences. One ground related to the fact that the warrant for the solicitors office should not have been issued, but should instead have been a production order and others related to the seizure of computers.
    The court held that the police had misunderstood the legal position, in that once a Production Order had been issued, the solicitors would have been under a duty not to dispose of the material to which the application relates. There is no evidence to suggest that the solicitors would go against the order. As to the second point, the court held that just because a firm of solicitors represents people who are convicted of crimes is no indication that they are somehow tainted by this. The warrant was quashed and it was declared that the entry and search of those premises was unlawful. The police were ordered to return all the seized property.


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