Law report: Case Summaries

19 October1998
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The Independent Culture
The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Drug trafficking

R v MacMaster; CA (Crim Div) (Roch LJ, Sachs, Moses JJ) 8 Oct 1998.

THE CONVERSION of sterling which was the proceeds of drug trafficking into foreign currency was capable of amounting to an offence of assisting another to retain the benefits of drug trafficking contrary to s 50(1) of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994. Although "facilitated" was given a particular meaning in s 50(1)(a) it was not limited to that meaning.

Charles Bott (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Louise Kamill (CPS) for the Crown.

Housing

R v Tower Hamlets LBC, ex p Von Goetz; CA (Peter Gibson, Pill, Mummery LJJ) 8 Oct 1998.

THE REFERENCE in s 104(2)(b) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to an owner's interest as "either an estate in fee simple absolute possession or a term of years absolute of which not less than five years remain unexpired at the date of application" was apt to apply to an equitable interest as well as to a legal estate.

Ashley Underwood (Russell Power) for the authority; Tracey Bloom (McMillen Hamilton McCarthy) for the respondent.

Recognisances

R v Birmingham Crown Court, ex p Ali and anor and other applications; QBD (Div Ct) (Kennedy LJ, Sullivan J) 13 Oct 1998.

IT WAS irresponsible and possibly a matter for a disciplinary body for a qualified lawyer, legal executive or court clerk to tender anyone as a surety unless he had reasonable grounds for believing that the surety would be able to meet the financial undertaking. Further, unless the surety had the benefit of separate legal advice, a court clerk should make source enquiries to satisfy himself that the surety would be able to pay and that the regognisance was realistic. If the court clerk were in doubt the matter should be referred to a judge.

Christopher Gibbons (McGrath & Co, Birmingham) for the applicants in the first application; Alison Foster (C&E Solicitor) for the respondent in the first application; Kerry Barker (Bobbetts Mackan, Bristol) for the applicant in the second and third applications; Neil Garnham (Treasury Solicitor) for the respondent in the second application; the respondent in the third application did not appear and was not represented.

Custody time limits

Re Najam; QBD (Div Ct) (Kennedy LJ, Sullivan J) 13 Oct 1998.

THE EFFECT of para 4(5) of the Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) Regulations 1987 was to apply a wholly artificial definition to the maximum permitted time during which an accused person might be held in custody by providing that the time ceased to run at the point when the magistrates began to conduct an enquiry as examining justices, i.e. when they commenced hearing evidence fo the prosecution.

Richard Gordon QC, Leon Daniel (J R Jones) for the applicant; John Causer (CPS) for the Crown.

Rating

National Trust v Hoare and anor; CA (Sir Richard Scott V-C, Peter Gibson, Schiemann LJJ) 13 Oct 1998.

THE LANDS Tribunal erred in ascribing a positive rating value to two heritage properties run at a loss by the National Trust. The hypothesis contained in para 2(1) of Sch 6 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988 was only a mechanism for arriving at a value for a particular hereditament for rating purposes, and did not entitle the valuer to depart from the real world further than the analysis compelled.

Anthony Anderson QC, Adam de Voghelaere Parr (Nabarro Nathanson) for the appellant; David Holgate QC (Andrew Gunz) for the respondent.

Statutory nuisance

East Staffordshire Borough Council v Fairless; QBD (Div Ct) (Kennedy LJ, Sullivan J) 14 Oct 1998.

A WARNING notice issued under s82(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, provided it specified the matter complained of, need not specify the works required to remedy the complaint, nor was the aggrieved person required to identify the capacity in which the proposed defendant was proceeded against. The court should not adopt an over-technical approach to such notices.

Elizabeth Norman (Borough Solicitor, Burton-upon-Trent) for the appellant; Sylvester Carrott (Roskill Davies & Co) for the respondent.

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