COURT AVAILABILITY– I am currently not accepting instructions on legal aid Crown Court cases where Legal aid was granted after 1st April. For future availability see http://www.freelanceadvocacyservices.uk/
Book via firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental health crisis for stressed-out advocates https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/may/06/british-barristers-mental-health-crisis-survey-criminal-bar-association
Court service job losses https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/may/02/6500-jobs-to-be-lost-in-modernisation-of-uk-courts
Charter for Justice film: speaker clips now available here
Vigil for Justice -films Well done to the Justice Alliance for this event. Watch their short fact-filled films on Justice on their twitter feed or via film-maker Jason Parkinson’s website here https://jasonnparkinson.com/2018/04/19/the-justice-alliance-time4justice-campaign/
1. BAD CHARACTER EVIDENCE, R v Hay  EWCA Crim 1851,
The appellant’s previous conviction was properly admitted under section 101(1)(d) to rebut an innocent explanation of, or an explanation of coincidence in relation to, evidence which was relied on by the prosecution.
The appellant was convicted of a single count of robbery. His co- defendant, had pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery. A post office was robbed by three men. All three were masked. One man (Baines) attacked the shopkeeper and forced him to hand over more than £1,000 in cash. A second man (referred to as “robber 2”) guarded the door, and a third was the driver of the car. The prosecution case was that the appellant was robber 2. The appellant was arrested. A bandana was recovered from his home. In his police interview he denied being involved in the robbery, but was unable to provide details of where he was at time it had occurred (6 days earlier). The prosecution relied on the circumstantial and expert evidence to prove its case against the appellant. The issue for the jury was whether the man at the door of the post office (“robber 2”) was the appellant. He accepted that he had pleaded guilty to robbery in 2003. The prosecution application was to rely on bad character evidence under the gateway in section 101(1)(d) and section 103 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The prosecution submitted that the previous conviction was properly admitted as relevant to the central issue of whether the appellant was “robber 2” under section 101(1)(d) of the 2003 Act. Specifically, the appellant’s previous conviction was relevant to rebut his assertion that there was an innocent explanation for a number of features of the prosecution evidence that were relied on in support of its case that he was “robber 2” : first, he was accompanying his long-term friend (the co-accused Baines) at the hardware store a short time before the axe used in the robbery was purchased; second, his browsing with Baines in the axe section of the store; and third, himself buying a pair of gloves of the exact make and type worn by “robber 2”. The prosecution submitted that the conviction was particularly probative and relevant as tending to prove the improbability of coincidence. The Recorder ruled that the conviction was relevant and admissible in circumstances where a defendant was asserting an innocent association with a co- accused (who had pleaded guilty to the robbery) at a store in which the axe had been obtained for use in the robbery some 3 hours before the crime had been committed. The jury should know that in the past the appellant had committed an offence of robbery. The jury would be addressed by experienced counsel and would be properly directed as to the reliance they could place on the conviction. His appeal was dismissed. The Court of Appeal held that, “In our view, the evidence of the appellant’s previous conviction was properly admitted under section 101(1)(d) in the present case. It was evidence that was relevant to an important matter in issue between the defence and the prosecution. It was evidence used to rebut an innocent explanation of, or an explanation of coincidence in relation to, evidence which was relied on by the prosecution.”
2. s.45 MODERN SLAVERY ACT 2015. R v Kreka and R v Gega  EWCA Crim 667,
Details Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced to ensure that victims of modern slavery would not be prosecuted or convicted for criminal offences they were forced to commit as result of their exploitation
In in each of these cases, the applicant is an Albanian national who claimed to have been a victim of trafficking and who sought to rely on the statutory defence afforded to such victims under section 45 of the 2015 Act. The applicants submitted that the trial judge in each case misdirected the jury as to the burden and standard of proof where a defendant raises a defence under section 45 of the 2015 Act. The Act itself is silent on the question of who bears the burden of proof. The Court of Appeal held that “…section 45 of the 2015 Act does not bear the interpretation urged by the prosecution upon, and accepted by, the judges below. It does not implicitly require the defendant to bear the legal or persuasive burden of proof of any element of the defence. The burden on a defendant is evidential. It is for the defendant to raise evidence of each of those elements and for the prosecution to disprove one or more of them to the criminal standard in the usual way.” (paragraph 45)
Success at Wood Green I successfully defended someone last week charged with sex assault, after he had allegedly grabbed a nurse on the breast in the secure unit of the mental health hospital where she worked and he had been detained under the Mental Health Act for 10 months. Thanks to Shearman Bowen for the brief.
Court of Appeal Success. I successfully appealed a sentence last month in a robbery case where the judge had misapplied the guidelines and failed to properly consider totality of sentence. It is important to be familiar with the “TIC and Totality” guideline , and to remind sentencing tribunals of the principle that “where consecutive sentences are passed to consider if the aggregate length is just and proportionate”
Strike. Almost all counsel’s chambers on the South Eastern continue to decline instructions in new legal aid cases. So do I. Full list here.
100 miles. I will be attempting to cycle the Surrey 100 in July, and attempting to raise money-please consider sponsoring me 🚲 👍 https://www.justgiving.com/CyclingSurrey100
Lawyer of the month (April). Jim Skelsey (BSB solicitors)
Congratulations to Jim (BSB) who ran the London marathon again, and despite the heat set a great time of under 4 hours! He also raised a shed-load of money for charity-but it’s not too late to sponsor him here