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Blackstone's Criminal Practice 2021

Early July 2021

Welcome to the Blackstone’s Criminal Practice fortnightly updates. The following developments occurred between 15th – 30th June 2021.

Part B: Offences Part C: Road Traffic Offences Part D: Procedure

Part B Offences

B11 Offences Affecting Public Order

B11.81 Public Nuisance: Procedure and Limit on Prosecution

DPP v Ziegler [2021] UKSC 23: considers the test to be applied by an appellate court to an assessment of the trial court's decision in respect of a statutory defence of "lawful excuse" when ECHR rights were engaged in a criminal matter.

The test to be applied by an appellate court to an assessment of the trial court's decision in respect of a statutory defence of "lawful excuse", when ECHR rights were engaged in a criminal matter, was that in Edwards v Bairstow [1956] AC 14. Therefore, an appeal would be allowed where there was an error of law material to the decision which was apparent on the face of the case, or if the decision was one which no reasonable court could have reached on the facts. Deliberate obstructive conduct by protesters was capable of constituting a lawful excuse for the purposes of an offence under the Highways Act 1980, s. 137(1) where the impact of that obstruction on other highway users was more than de minimis.

Part C Road Traffic Offences

C7 Sentencing

C7.37 Disqualification Generally: Length of Disqualification

R v Iqbal [2021] EWCA Crim 1022; [2021] 6 WLR 534: Successful appeal against the length disqualification period where it was held to be manifestly excessive for a man of good character.

The appellant pleaded guilty to the offences of dangerous driving and using a motor vehicle without insurance at the magistrates’ court. He was committed to the Crown Court for sentence. He was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment suspended for two years with an unpaid work requirement. He was disqualified from driving for a period of three years and six months and thereafter until an extended retest was taken. No separate penalty was imposed for the offence of having no insurance, however his driving licence was endorsed. On appeal it was submitted that the disqualification period was manifestly excessive. In brief, the appellant had driven away from police who suspected he was driving without insurance. Whilst in pursuit he was seen to drive at 50mph in a 30mph zone, drive on the wrong side of the road, cut corners and clip the wing mirror of a stationary car. The pursuit took place in a residential area. Held; the sentence was manifestly excessive. The mandatory minimum disqualification of 12 months and thereafter until he took an extended retest was a significant punishment for a 22 year old of hitherto good character.

Part D Procedure

D31 Extradition

D31.21 Bars to Extradition

Turkey v Tanis [2021] EWHC 1675 (Admin): unsuccessful appeal against decision to discharge extradition request on the ground that it was barred by reason of risk of prejudice.

A district judge had been entitled to conclude that a requested person's extradition, to face trial in Turkey for offences related to his apparent links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was barred by virtue of the Extradition Act 2003, s. 81(b) as he might suffer prejudice at his trial. It was not necessary under s.81(b) for the district judge to identify precisely how prejudice would manifest itself; it was sufficient to find that the judiciary were not independent, that the rule of law was not operating and that the requested person would, in the light of his particular profile, suffer prejudice at his trial.

D31.31 Conviction in Absence

Cretu v Romania [2021] EWHC 1693 (Admin): considers whether an individual was “convicted in absence” for the purposes of the Extradition Act 2003, s. 20.

In an appeal against extradition to Romania, a district judge had been entitled to find that, although the individual had been personally absent from his trial, he should not be considered as having been "convicted in his absence" for the purposes of the Extradition Act 2003, s. 20 as he had been legally represented by two lawyers of his choice. Extradition would not breach ECHR art. 3 as specific assurances had been given regarding the prison conditions the individual would be kept in.

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