News Round-Up Week Ending 4.12.15
(Posted on 04/12/15)Share:
Criminal Courts Charge Gone by Christmas!
Michael Gove has announced that the widely condemned â€œtax on justiceâ€, that made defendants in England and Wales pay towards the cost of their trial, is to be abolished.
NCA Searches Unlawful
Buzzfeedâ€™s Tom Warren reported that trials are collapsing amid warnings that historical convictions are unsafe because of â€œglaringâ€ systemic failures at the National Crime Agency, the UKâ€™s serious crime body.
Searches, surveillance and evidence seizures over the past decade may have been conducted unlawfully, putting every single one of the NCAâ€™s live investigations and prosecutions in jeopardy.
Lawyers have warned that past convictions may be unsafe and some of Britainâ€™s most dangerous criminals may have to be set free.
â€œThe ramifications for defendants past, present and future are immense,â€ said Kier Monteith, defence barrister for two collapsed money-laundering trials. â€œThe fallout is hard to predict but the number of convictions that could be quashed might reach double figures.â€
â€œThe prospect of hundreds of hours of time having been wasted by experienced NCA officers, and criminals avoiding prosecution because of a failure to follow legal processes is deeply concerning,â€ said Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Pistorius Guilty of Murder
An Appeal Court has set aside Oscar Pistoriusâ€™ conviction for culpable homicide and found him guilty of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
â€œAs a result of the errors of lawâ€¦ and on a proper appraisal of the facts, he ought to have been convicted not of culpable homicide on that count but of murder.
â€œIn the interests of justice the conviction and the sentence imposed in respect thereof must be set aside and the conviction substituted with a conviction of the correct offence.â€
In a unanimous ruling, the five judges said Pistoriusâ€™ evidence and explanations were â€œimplausibleâ€ and he had â€œnever offered an acceptable explanationâ€ for shooting four times through a closed door. The original trial judge, Thokozile Masipa, had been wrong on several points of law.