Category Archive Crime

ByMichael Morrison

Commercial Litigation – Corporate Crime and Fraud

Prosecutions for commercial fraud are expected to rise this year due to a stronger commitment to bring proceedings under the Bribery Act 2010. It will be interesting to see how the offence of failing to prevent bribery is handled by both the prosecuting authorities such as the Serious Fraud Office and defendants alike.

The Criminal Finances Act currently forging its passage through Parliament, as a Bill, should bring some tantalising developments.

 

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ByMichael Morrison

Domestic Violence Cases are Going Unprosecuted

Reports of sexual violence and domestic abuse have risen by nearly 12% year on year over the last four years in London. Cases of domestic violence soared by just under 58% in the same period. Last year despite a rise of almost 7% of domestic violence matters reported the proportion of people being charged with the offence has dropped.

In the year September 2015 to 2016 just 28% of domestic violence cases lead to either a caution, charge or other punishment compared to 41% in the previous four years. There were nearly 6000 rapes which contributed to a total of 17,000 sexual offences with 150,000 being the total of domestic violence incidents. 16% of sexual offences resulted in prosecution compared to only 10% four years earlier.

Whilst victims gain in confidence in reporting crime is commendable it will be a pity if this is thwarted by police inactivity.

Meanwhile a coordinator of a women’s refuge in north west London has been jailed for two years having been charged with fraud by abuse of position for the theft of nearly £35,000 which augmented the charity’s closure.

 

 

 

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ByMichael Morrison

Killer Goes Free Thanks To A Tactical Solicitor

The rewards of instructing an experienced, highly recommended solicitor are borne out time and time again our advisers at the Solicitors Information Service report.

A recent case concerned a driver talking hands free on a mobile phone who ran over and killed a two year old toddler in a supermarket car park. She denied causing death by careless driving and was sentenced to 14 months in prison suspended for two years and banned from driving for 18 months.

 

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ByMichael Morrison

Violent Crime and Murder up 25% over the Past Year

London and the south east have been the main beneficiaries of a 71 increase to the national murder tally of 574, making it the biggest increase in thirteen years. An increase of 19% was recorded for attempted murder by police in England and Wales. This rise comes after ten years of falls in murders with other violent crimes also in the ascendant e.g. firearms offences >4% and knife crimes by about 10%. Sexual crimes rose by a third to almost 100,000 with big increases in rape 39% and 35% for other sexual offences – the highest annual increases on record. In total violence against the person offences increased by more than a quarter to just under 186,000.

Thirty children under 13 have been arrested for gun offences over the last three years. The charges include importing a prohibited weapon, possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life and using a firearm with intent to avoid arrest. Just under 230 children aged up to 17 were arrested for matters concerning guns.

There were nearly 300 arrests for terrorism offences which is down 3% on the previous year but there has been a large increase in the number of children aged under 18 and female terrorists. International terrorism rather than domestic terrorism has seen an increase in detentions. There were about 70 arrests in the last quarter of 2015 which is up almost 50% compared to the previous quarter.

 

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ByMichael Morrison

Recent Cases & News Round-Up

Crime

Hate crime has gone up by more than 20% London in the past year. The rise is due to world events but also due to the fact more people are prepared to make these complaints today. About 32,000 more crimes of a violent nature have been committed.

In July where a record number of faith hate offences were made 95% were anti-semitic in the aftermath of Gaza being invaded by Israel.

These revelations come on top of these further London crime statistics:-

Religion, racism and homophobia attacks are up dramatically               Faith related offences up 23% to 1048                                                       Violent hate crime up 21% to 1140                                                             Homophobic crime rose 21.5% = 100 cases a month with 175 reported in June alone                                                                               Transgender hate crime up 86.2%,  58 to 108 cases                               Disability hate crime up 12.5% and racist and religious up almost 20%. Crime in Haringey up 38%, Barnet 31%, Kensington & Chelsea 31%, Redbridge 29%, Hillingdon and Bromley about 28%, Kingston 7.5% and Ealing 10%

However only 43% of criminal incidents are thought to be reported.

The police said that since October they have attended nearly 5300 premises visits, 400 alcohol test purchases, seized 400 weapons in 5000 sweeps, 3000 out of 160000 stop and searches had positive results e.g. weapon retrieval.

A 25% rise in domestic violence charges  is likely to be made to April this year. There have been nearly 10,000 prosecutions from April to December this year which is up by more than 1000. The good news is that more than 65% have resulted in successful convictions with nearly 6500 either admitting/being found guilty over the last two quarters.

The UK taken as a whole paints a similar picture with just over 89,000 prosecutions expected by the first week of April, almost 20,000 more than the nearly 71,000 last year. A rise is rape proceedings is similarly reported.

Sexual violence has been described as being the worst in London for more than 30 years by the Metropolitan Police’s leading Commander.

Drinking whilst pregnant is not an offence

Three judges sitting in the Court of Appeal have recently ruled that if a woman drinks heavily during pregnancy and causes severe mental and/or physical deformity to her unborn child no criminal offence has been committed upholding an earlier ruling by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Delayed birth delivery – £7,000,000 awarded by the High Court

A 6 year old boy suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy due to the lack of oxygen to his brain has won the above captioned award.

As he was in the breech position he was required to be delivered by Caesarean. However due to delays at the south east London hospital when his mother was actually attended to it was too late for it to be performed and a normal delivery ensued.

He will require the use of a wheelchair and is not expected to live beyond the age of 26.

Solicitors in London hope that proper training will be given to all maternity staff especially to sub-contracted midwives.

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ByMichael Morrison

Debbie Purdy: Right-to-die campaigner dies

Right-to-die advocate Debbie Purdy, who succeeded with  a landmark judgment to clarify the law on assisted suicide, has passed away. The 51-year-old from Bradford had dealt with main progressive numerous sclerosis (MS) for nearly 20 years.

Ms Purdy had spent a year in the city’s Marie Curie Hospice and had  sometimes refused food. She died on 23 December. In 2009, she won a ruling to obtain explanation on whether her spouse Omar Puente would be prosecuted if he assisted her to end her life.

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Debbie Purdy – Right to die Campaign

Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor, said Ms Purdy’s role as a campaigner against the law on assisted suicide was “absolutely key” and she had transformed the dispute.

Mr Puente confirmed the death of his spouse in a statement, paying tribute to “a much enjoyed better half, good friend, aunt and sister”.
Debbie Purdy and spouse Omar Puente in 2010

“We would like to thank the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford for the care the staff provided her, which permitted her in 2013 to be as peaceful and dignified as she wanted,” he added.

David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, where the hospice is situated, said: “Debbie was an amazing human and in spite of her condition she was an ebullient character. “In her own words she said if she was permitted to die it would help her live.”. Mr Ward stated he would remember Ms Purdy for the “great spirit she had and as an incredibly motivating person”.

Lesley Close, a friend of Ms Purdy and customer of the group Dignity in Dying, said: “Debbie was a fantastic person. “Every moment of life was fun when you were with her.”. Lord Pannick, Debbie Purdy’s barrister, who initially satisfied her in 2008 at the start of her legal fight, said: “Her body was already afflicted horribly by this terrible illness, she was in a wheelchair, she was in great pain for much of the time.

“But I do not think I have represented a more energetic customer in my expert career.”. In her final job interview with BBC Look North, Ms Purdy said the unpleasant truths of her condition indicated her life was “inappropriate”. She said: “It’s uncomfortable and it’s uneasy and it’s frightening and it’s not how I wish to live. “If someone could find a treatment for MS I would be the very first individual in line. “It’s not a matter of wanting to end my life, it’s a matter of not wanting my life to be this.”.

Debbie Purdy’s landmark legal success did not lead to a modification in the law but it forced the authorities to clarify exactly what the legislation indicated in practice.

Ms Purdy had looked for guarantee over whether her partner would be prosecuted if he assisted her end her life. Purdy’s priority concern was to learn if any actions her spouse, Omar Puente, took in aiding her suicide would result in his prosecution. The charge for those who “help, abet, counsel or acquire the suicide of another” is a maximum of 14 years. No member of any family of the 92 Britons who have travelled for an assisted suicide has  been prosecuted but some have been charged and have waited for months before hearing the charges have been dropped. Purdy said that if her spouse would be exposed to prosecution for assisting her travel to Switzerland to a Dignitas clinic to pass away, she would make the journey sooner whilst she had the ability to take a trip unassisted to conserve her partner from exposure to the law. This would have forced Purdy to make her decision on dying before she felt it was absolutely necessary.

When this may be the case after ruling the law was uncertain, in 2009 the Law Lords bought the Director of Public Prosecutions to define.

That triggered Keir Starmer – the then director – to publish standards in February 2010 setting out what was considered when weighing up a prosecution.

He stated a variety of aspects need to be considered, consisting of the inspirations of the person aiding and the victim’s capability to reach a informed and clear decision about their suicide.

The right to die is an emotive and highly charged issue. Some religions regard choosing the time to die should be above human intervention. Few of us would allow the life of a beloved pet to continue if this would cause them to suffer.

It still continues to be an offence to help a suicide or encourage or a suicide attempt in England and Wales.

Adapted from an article by the BBC

DAV

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ByMichael Morrison

High Court freezes £1.1 billion assets

The High Court has granted a worldwide order freezing the assets of the billionaire lover of London broadcaster and writer Alexandra Tolstoy.

She had consulted a consummate professional family solicitor in London.

Sergei Pugachev — a former ally of President Vladimir Putin once reportedly known as the “Kremlin’s banker” — faced legal action by the liquidator of his bank, which went bust in the global financial crisis owing hundreds of millions of pounds.

Ms Tolstoy — a distant relative of Leo Tolstoy — has three children with Mr Pugachev, and they share homes in London and the south of France. She recently claimed she owed nearly all her wealth to him.

This week, Deposit Insurance Agency, the liquidator of Mr Pugachev’s company Mezhprombank, was granted an injunction freezing £1.17 billion of his assets across the globe, including two London homes and a villa in Nice.

It means he cannot sell them or do anything that could diminish their value. He is also banned from spending cash in bank accounts.

Mr Pugachev, 51, is still allowed to spend £10,000 a week on living expenses plus legal bills.

Ms Tolstoy has claimed he is the victim of a high-level conspiracy in Russia to expropriate his empire.

She recently spoke of her fear for the safety of her and her family. In May she gave an interview in one of her London homes flanked by Russian security guards.

The Deposit Insurance Agency, represented by solicitors in London alleges Mr Pugachev transferred hundreds of millions of dollars from Mezhprombank to an account at a private bank in Switzerland. It also claims he is “vicariously liable” for the bank’s collapse. The injunction declares: “If you, Sergei Viktorovich Pugachev, disobey this order you may be held to be in contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have your assets seized.”

The same potential punishment applies to anybody who assists in breaching the order.

Ms Tolstoy — whose branch of the author’s family emigrated to Britain in the Twenties —  has said that one of the affected properties is a £12 million house in Battersea that used to belong to the Forbes family.

She was educated at Downe House — the Berkshire boarding school that the Duchess of Cambridge briefly attended — and studied at Edinburgh University. In 2009 she made BBC2  documentary series Horse People with Alexandra Tolstoy, in which she lived with remote communities around the world where horses are central to the culture. It was during a decade of wild travelling around China, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan that she met her first husband, an Uzbek horseman.

When they split there was a legal row over the £250,000 Moscow apartment they lived in. She says this property, along with a cottage in Oxfordshire, is the only asset she independently owns.

Original reporting by the London Evening Standard – 17/7/14

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