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News


22/05/15

Richard Wilson QC and Piers von Berg appear in a judicial review of decision to prosecute a very young child

Judgment has now been published in the case of R(CM) v the Crown Prosecution Service [2014] EWHC 4457 (Admin). Richard Wilson QC, leading Piers von Berg, challenged the decision to prosecute a very young child (aged 10 at the time) for sexual offences.

The decision was challenged on the bases of i) irrationality and ii) a unjustifiable failure to follow policy. It was argued that the defendant was in a therapeutic and residential unit and the only available disposal would not change his circumstances. It was also contended that the CPS failed to adequate regard to the views of a child and adolescent psychiatrist who said that any prosecution would have an adverse effect on him and would not be in the public interest. 

Bean LJ, dismissing the claim, said that the CPS had been entitled to take into account CM’s difficulties in responding to treatment. Any decision on the public interest was not for the psychiatrist to make. As regards policy, the decision was finely balanced given the very young age of CM. The CPS had in mind the seriousness of the offence and CM’s denials.      

The full judgment can be found here

15/05/15

36Crime’s Matthew Lowe successfully prosecutes barrister charged with sexual assault

36Crime’s Matthew Lowe successfully prosecuted Desmond Rosario, a criminal barrister, of the sexual assault of a 15 year old girl at Sheffield Crown Court. 

The offence took place in 2013, but failed to turn up to his first court appearance and went on the run until he was found in December 2014 after his case appeared on the BBC show Crimewatch. 

Rosario was jailed for 4 years and will remain of the sex offenders register for life. 

Read the full news story here.

15/05/15

36Crime’s Paul Prior named Leicestershire Law Society’s Barrister of the Year

On Friday 15 May at Leicestershire Law Society’s Annual Dinner, 36Crime’s Paul Prior was named Barrister of the Year, beating Jayne Adams of Ropewalk Chambers and Nabila Hani Mallick of No5 Chambers. 

The award was judged on evidence of particular successful cases and links to the local Leicestershire legal community, alongside evidence of making a positive contribution to the reputation of barristers and the legal profession as a whole. 

 Paul’s profile can be found here

 

14/05/15

R –v– Wheatley – Successfully prosecuted by 36Crime’s Christopher Donnellan Q.C.

On 13 May 2015  Carl Wheatley was convicted of the murder of his 4 ½ year old daughter. Wheatley had admitted manslaughter but the jury rejected his plea of not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

The defendant argued that he suffered not only from ADHD diagnosed when he was a child, but also atypical Autism Spectrum Disorder (DSM–5), diagnosed after the killing.  The psychiatric experts’ evidence was contentious and two autism specialists argued that the complex combination of his neurodevelopmental disorders diminished his responsibility. The Crown’s expert reply challenged the diagnosis of ASD, and argued that any neurodevelopmental disorder from which he suffered did not sufficiently fulfil the requirements of s.2 of the Homicide Act 1957 (as amended).

Sentencing takes places on 15 May 2015. 

The full news report by the BBC can be found here

11/05/15

36BR Art Law’s Christopher Hanges contributes to Silvia Maresca’s article on the Caravaggio

Following the extraordinary Caravaggio Cardsharps case, Thwaytes v Sotheby’s in which the Claimant unsuccessfully brought a claim against Sotheby’s for negligence in failing to spot the Caravaggio potential of the artwork, our pupil barrister, Christopher Hanges, provides helpful commentary on the case in an article about the artwork that currently resides in the Museum of the Order of St John. 

See –An unexpected gem in the heart of Clerkenwell, in St John Street News

06/05/15

36BR’s Felicity Gerry QC assists Mary Jane Veloso in last minute reprieve from execution in Indonesia

Felicity Gerry QC gave key help to secure a reprieve for Mary Jane Veloso who faced execution in Indonesia last week and is working with the National Union of Philippine Lawyers to bring Mary Jane home.

Mary Jane’s case gives Indonesia the opportunity to lead the way in ASEAN on the protection of exploited people. Indonesia has progressive & mandatory laws to protect human trafficked victims. If this protection is applied properly, in accordance with UN guiding principles, exploited people should not be prosecuted or punished when they commit a crime as a result of their status as a victim. 

Felicity says “In Mary Jane’s case, the right thing to do is to bring Mary Jane back to Manila immediately”.

In other cases, there should be immediate investigation into reducing sentences for drug mules and other exploited people. This could also have the advantage of exposing evidence to identify the organised criminals in control.

Felicity will be in Manila from 10th to 16th May 2015.

30/04/15

36 Immigration’s Miriam Benitez granted legal aid for appeal to the Supreme Court

Yesterday, Miriam Benitez was successful in obtaining legal aid for permission to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in GS (India) & Ors v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 40. Miriam appears for EO who was suffering from End–Stage Kidney Disease when he made an application for leave to remain and made subsequent (unsuccessful) appeals under Articles 3 and 8. Most recently, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal against the Upper Tribunal’s decision on the basis that:

  1. EO did not fall within the exceptional basis for granting leave to remain under Article 3 as required from the leading cases of N v UK  (2008) 47 EHRR 39 and D v UK (1997) 24 EHRR 423; and
  2. There is no principled basis on which EO can now raise an article 8 argument as he did not make a specific Article 8 case before the Upper Tribunal.

This case is at the permission stage and the judgment being appealed can be found here.

27/04/15

Piers von Berg successful in Court of Appeal in overturning fact finding judgment

The Court found that the trial judge had not given adequate reasons for findings of domestic violence against the Father and had misdirected in considering old allegations that were not relevant to the child’s welfare (Re V (A Child) [2015] EWCA Civ 274).

In a judgment that will arguably be important to anyone practising in domestic violence cases, MacFarlane LJ gave guidance on two points: i) the necessary ingredients of a fact finding judgment and ii) when a fact finding should be held.

On the first, he held that there was no need for an elaborate distillation of each and every point. It is important to have reasons for preferring one witness’ credibility over another. All that is required is a clear description of the factors considered and the reasoning that any underpins any conclusion.

Secondly, his Lordship confirmed that although Re L [2000] 2 FLR 334 remains the bedrock of the approach to this topic, practice has moved on and is currently embodied in Practice 12J. He highlighted the importance of whether an allegation is ‘relevant’ to the decision the court is being asked to make at paragraphs 6 and 14. Looking back at Re L, he reminded practitioners of the continuing importance of the psychiatric advice recited in that judgment, and, added a word of caution, that that advice, albeit endorsed, is not the President’s judgment. The focus should be on the process of evaluation to be undertaken by the court.

Of note also for these types of cases, was the implied, and in places explicit criticism by all three Lord Justices of the CAFCASS Officer, who had not arranged supervised direct contact pursuant to a court order.

Finally, MacFarlane LJ added that: “I for my part have been assisted by the clear exposition that Mr von Berg has given to the legal context within which the appeal falls and also by his submission of a detailed schedule setting out the allegations and the differences within the evidence that was before the judge.”

The judgment can be found on Family Law Week.

23/04/15

36 Immigration’s James Collins appears in the Court of Appeal

36 Bedford Row’s James Collins has appeared before the Court of Appeal in SSHD v SS(Congo) & 5 others [2015] EWCA Civ 387. The case concerned an appeal by the SSHD following the grant of leave to enter the UK by the First–Tier Tribunal. The judgment provides important guidance on the approach to applications for leave to enter the UK outside the Immigration Rules on the basis of article 8 ECHR:

  • Article 8 does not confer an automatic right of entry.
  • When deciding whether to grant leave, the state can have regard to a range of factors, including pressure on the public purse and the promotion of social integration.
  • The involvement of a child works to decrease the state’s margin of appreciation but does not mean that leave to enter will be automatically granted.  
  • It is possible for a good claim to be established outside the Appendix FM Rules and in such a case, the applicant’s interests have to be balanced against the public interest.
  • The sponsor’s income falling just short of the minimum requirement does not constitute compelling circumstances requiring the grant of leave to enter, but it forms part of the balancing exercise.

The full judgment is available here.

17/04/15

36 Bedford Row supports Larchfield Charity Organisation

Larchfield’s objective is to serve the desperate plight of the increasing numbers of Tanzanian orphans and children who have been abandoned by their parents and other family members through disease, or other incapacity to maintain the family unit. The local government does not have the resources to help; these children are left helpless and vulnerable, living a life of poverty and little hope.

Larchfield’s aim is to build and maintain a purpose–built children’s home and school for children aged 3–16 years. Initially, this community facility will be able to accommodate 60 children, but phased to eventually house and educate up to 300.

The project is just south of Dar–es–Salaam, in a district called Mkuranga which has been particularly hard hit – the concentration of orphans is alarming. In Mkuranga alone there are 9,000 such children. What the government can do is to indicate strong support and encouragement to help us along, which they have done. You can find details of the project on www.larchfieldkids.org.

If you would like to support this organisation, please visit the Just Giving link to donate here.

25/03/15

36 Family’s Will Tyler QC, Hannah Markham and Kate Grieve successful in the Supreme Court

Our Will Tyler QC, Hannah Markham and Kate Grieve successful in the Supreme Court which today handed down a landmark judgment relating to the costs of appeals in children cases.

The judgment can be found at https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2014_0101_Judgment.pdf and Kate Grieve’s analysis can be found here.

Recent News

Richard Wilson QC and Piers von Berg appear in a judicial review of decision to prosecute a very young child
Read more

36Crime’s Matthew Lowe successfully prosecutes barrister charged with sexual assault
Read more

36Crime’s Paul Prior named Leicestershire Law Society’s Barrister of the Year
Read more

R –v– Wheatley – Successfully prosecuted by 36Crime’s Christopher Donnellan Q.C.
Read more

36BR Art Law’s Christopher Hanges contributes to Silvia Maresca’s article on the Caravaggio
Read more

36BR’s Felicity Gerry QC assists Mary Jane Veloso in last minute reprieve from execution in Indonesia
Read more

36 Immigration’s Miriam Benitez granted legal aid for appeal to the Supreme Court
Read more

Piers von Berg successful in Court of Appeal in overturning fact finding judgment
Read more

36 Immigration’s James Collins appears in the Court of Appeal
Read more

36 Bedford Row supports Larchfield Charity Organisation
Read more

36 Family’s Will Tyler QC, Hannah Markham and Kate Grieve successful in the Supreme Court
Read more