Sentencing

Sexual Offences Handbook – Law, Practice and Procedure

<p><strong>Book review<br /> Felicity Gerry and Catarina Sjölin<br /> Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, January 2010, £69, ISBN 0854900357</strong> </p> <p>Once a month, between February 1999 and April 2000—usually on a Thursday—a very disparate group of mainly middle-aged men and women met at Queen Anne’s Gate to talk about sex. Known collectively to ourselves—and to the Home Office receptionists—as the “Sex Offenders” we were the members of Jack Straw’s Steering Group, set up to review the law on sex offences. Essentially we were given a blank sheet of paper on which we were encouraged to set out a blueprint for a new sex offences law for the next generation or three. Our report “Setting the Boundaries” contained a total of 62 recommendations. It was published in July 2000. It formed the basis for the government’s Sexual Offences Bill, which received  Royal Assent on 20 November 2003 and came into force on 1 May 2004. Five years later the new case law is beginning to develop—and the books are starting to proliferate. </p>
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Sara Payne’s recommendations

<p>The Ministry of Justice has published the report of Victim’s Champion Sara Payne into criminal justice. The recommendations include<br />calls for judges to explain the exact period a convicted offender is likely to spend in custody. A spokesperson for the judiciary said: “The judiciary is very sensitive to the needs of victims, but always in the context of ensuring the essential components of a fair trial.” </p>
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Twelve good men & true–& safe

<p>In the wake of the recent Court of Appeal interlocutory judgment giving the green light for the first trial on indictment by a judge alone, David Wolchover and Anthony Heaton-Armstrong propose some convenient and inexpensive jury tampering countermeasures </p> <p>The Northern Ireland judge-only Diplock courts for the trial of cases involving a terrorist dimension linger on, though nowadays with a much reduced throughput. But while the risk of jury intimidation and religious bias may have waned in Ulster the perceived problem of jury tampering—or “nobbling”—had supposedly increased in England and Wales to such an extent that provision was finally enacted in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“CJA 2003”), s 44 for trials on indictment to be conducted where appropriate without a jury. </p>
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Protecting Special Needs

<p>Sentencing judges are obliged to make their own enquiries before sentencing a defendant with special needs to prison. John Cooper analyses the recent case law </p>
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The Road To Death Row

<p><em><strong>Sam Clyndes, who worked as an intern at the Mississippi Office of Capital Defense Counsel, highlights the problems facing defendants in death-penalty cases.</strong> </em> </p> <p>What is the road to judicial killing in the state of Mississippi, where I spent three months on an internship with Amicus, the charity which assists in the provision of legal representation for those awaiting capital trial and punishment in the US, at the Office of Capital Defense Counsel (“OCDC”)? </p>
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A Considered Response

<p>Desmond Browne QC pays tribute to the people involved in drafting the Bar’s consultation paper responses </p>
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Barristers urge peers to strengthen support for bereaved families in Coroners and Justice Bill

<p>BEREAVED families should have access to legal representation at inquests, the Bar Council and the Criminal Bar Association have told the House of Lords. </p> <p>This change is one of a number of amendments being sought by barristers to the Coroners and Justice Bill. The Bar Council and the Criminal Bar Association sent a briefing to members of the House of Lords, outlining their views on key aspects of the Bill, which is having its Second Reading in the House of Lords today. </p>
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