Saturday, 29 April 2017

27th April ~ Bills receiving Royal Assent



The Dissolution of the 2015-2017 Parliament is on 3rd May.  The General Election on 8th June.  The following Bills received Royal Assent on 27th April.  This is the result of the so-called "Wash Up" process.



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Manslaughter by motor vehicle ~ Death of Police Officer

On 5th October 2015, Constable David Phillips of the Merseyside Police was killed when he was struck by a stolen vehicle, driven at speed towards him by Clayton Ronald Williams, who was then aged 18.

On 21st March 2016, in the Crown Court at Manchester (William Davis J and a jury) Clayton Williams was convicted of manslaughter. He was sentenced for that offence and also for offences of burglary and aggravated vehicle taking resulting in death, to which he had previously pleaded guilty.  The sentence was - imprisonment for 20 years for the manslaughter and concurrent terms of 2 years for burglary and 8 years for aggravated vehicle taking resulting in death.  He was also disqualified from driving for life.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Road Traffic ~ Speeding penalties ~ Dangerous driving

Speeding fines are subject to new sentencing guidelines which are effective from 24th April 2017 - Sentencing Council Guidelines - Speeding.   For an explanation of Fine Bands - see here.   The driver with a recorded speed of 41 to 50 mph in a 30 mph limit will face a Band B fine and 4 to 6 penalty points.  Disqualification is also possible.

Here are two recent cases involving dangerous driving.

Tania Chikwature:

The offence of dangerous driving is defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 2 and the meaning of dangerous driving is set out in section 2A.   One recent example of dangerous driving is that of Tania Chikwature who was driving a Nissan Qashqai in December 2016.  The website of the Cambridgeshire Police has details of the case including video taken from the cab of a lorry which was overtaken by Chikwature on the approach to a roundabout.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

General election on 8th June

There WILL be a general election on 8th June.  The preceding post looked at the requirements for an "early election" in the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 and the necessary majority was secured in the House of Commons on Wednesday 19th April.  MPs approved the motion for an early general election by 522 to 13.  The support of two-thirds of all MPs required for this motion to pass was reached - Parliament 19th April.

Parliament has to be dissolved 25 working days before Polling Day (8th June).  This means that Parliament will be dissolved on Wednesday 3rd May.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Prime Minister wants a general election on 8th June 2017

There MAY be a general election on 8th June 2017 - BBC NEWS 18th April.  This will be subject to securing a vote in the House of Commons for an early election as required by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011

Section 2 of the Act specifies when an early election may be held.   An early parliamentary general election is to take place if -

(a)  the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (2), and

Monday, 17 April 2017

Tony Blair, the Iraq War and Aggression

The war against Iraq began on 20th March 2003.  It caused deep divisions among the people of the UK.  On 18th March 2003, the House of Commons - in which the Labour Party held a large majority - passed a motion supporting the war - 396 votes to 217.

According to The Guardian 16th April 2017, an attempt to bring a private prosecution of Tony Blair for the crime of aggression was rejected by a District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) at Westminster Magistrates' Court.  The judge refused to issue a summons but, as far as I can ascertain, the reasons of the judge for doing so were not published.  The Guardian report goes on to say that the present Attorney General - Jeremy Wright QC - is involved in proceedings in the High Court in which the District Judge's decision is being challenged.  The Attorney seeks to stop the prosecution and the basis for doing so is that the crime of aggression is unknown to English law.

Friday, 7 April 2017

School attendance ~ Isle of Wight Council v Platt

The Education Act 1996 section 444 defines two offences applying to parents of children of compulsory school age.

(1)  If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence.

(1A)  If in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) the parent knows that his child is failing to attend regularly at the school and fails without reasonable justification to cause him to do so, he is guilty of an offence.

The Supreme Court

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Police Bail Pre Charge ~ A note on changes to the law


The Policing and Crime Act 2017 is yet another large Act comprising 184 sections (divided into 9 Parts) and 19 Schedules.  A further 204 pages of Explanatory Notes have been published.  Police Powers are the subject of Part 4 of the Act which encompasses several aspects of the law including amendment of the law relating to PRE-charge Bail.

The problem:

A considerable number of cases have raised concern about the length of time that individuals have been subjected to Police Bail whilst investigation continues.  Conditions attached to such "pre-charge bail" have, at times, been very onerous.  One high profile example was the case of BBC Presenter Mr Paul Gambaccini who was falsely accused of a sexual offence - see Telegraph 10th October 2014 and The Independent 3rd March 2015.  Apart from the trauma of being falsely named as a suspect, Mr Gambaccini was suspended from work by the BBC.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Gibraltar - a rock and a hard place

Updated 5th April 

The DRAFT guidelines of the European Council for the forthcoming Brexit negotiations contain much that is sensible but paragraph 22 is an "elephant in the room":  "After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom."

This post offers some tentative thoughts on this paragraph which brings into the arena the long-standing tension between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar.