Law Report: Case Summaries

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The following notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Crime

R v Johnson (Kevin); CA(Crim Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ; Ognall, Gage JJ); 5 July 1994.

Where the only evidence of identification of a masked intruder charged with burglary and sexual offences, which he denied, was the recognition of his tape-recorded voice by the victims, the trial judge erred in exercising his discretion under s 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in allowing evidence of the defendant's previous offences where the victims had spoken of his 'gentleness'.

Linda Stern QC and David Etherington (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; John M H Farmer (CPS) for the Crown.

R v Sinha; CA (Crim Div)(Glidewell LJ, Blofeld, Buxton JJ); 5 July 1994.

Where any act done might mislead the court in any judicial proceedings which might ensue and it was proved that the defendant intended to mislead in any of those proceedings, that would be sufficient to justify a conviction of an offence of doing an act tending to pervert the cause of public justice.

Robin Stewart QC and James Turner (Le Brasseur J Tickle) for the appellant; John Charles Rees QC and Patrick Curran (CPS) for the Crown.

Employment

Webb v Emo Air Cargo (UK) Ltd (Case C-32/93); ECJ; 14 July 1994.

On a reference for a preliminary ruling by the House of Lords, the European court held that articles 2(1) and 5(1) of Council Directive 76/207/EEC on equal treatment for men and women in relation to employment precluded the dismissal of a woman such as the applicant who had been recruited for an unlimited term with a view, initially, to replacing an employee during that employee's maternity leave but could not do so because, shortly after her appointment, she herself was found to be pregnant. Article 10 of Directive 92/85/EEC, which prohibited the dismissal of a woman during the period between the beginning of pregnancy and the end of maternity leave save in exceptional circumstances, was to be taken into account. Pregnancy was not comparable with illness, still less with unavailability for work on non-medical grounds, so that the applicant's situation could not be compared with that of a man who was recruited in similar circumstances and had to take leave of absence for medical or other reasons.

The dismissal was not justifiable by the applicant's temporary inability, by not being available for work, to fulfil a fundamental condition of her contract, as the protection given under Community law to women during pregnancy and childbirth did not depend on whether their presence at work during maternity was essential to the proper functioning of the undertaking whether they were employed.

Import certificates

R v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Ex p SP Anastasiou (Pissouri) Ltd and ors (Case C-432/92) ECJ; 5 July 1994.

In the case of citrus fruit and potatoes imported from the part of Cyprus to the north of the United Nations Buffer Zone, the rules contained in Council Regulations (EEC) nos 1246/73 and 2907/77 on certificates of origin and in Council Directive 77/93/EEC on certificates guaranteeing the absence of harmful organisms, precluded the national authorities of member states from accepting any such certificates other than ones issues by the competent authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. For their proper functioning the rules required close administrative co-operation, and that was not possible with the authorities of an entity, a 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', which was not recognised by the Community or the member states.

Although there was a provision that the rules governing trade were not to give rise to any discrimination 'between . . . nationals or companies of Cyprus', that had to yield to what was otherwise the clear interpretation to be given to the rules.

The European court's ruling was given in proceedings in which bodies established in the southern part of Cyprus sought judicial review of the United Kingdom authorities' practice of allowing imports (in, as was agreed, 'significant volumes') of citrus and potatoes from the northern part of Cyprus accompanied by documentation issued by authorities other than those of the Republic of Cyprus.

Practice

Practice Direction: Court Dress; CA(Crim Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ); 19 July 1994.

Notwithstanding extensions to rights of audience under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, there having been no change to the rule concerning court dress, the current practice governing the dress requirements for advocates appearing in the Supreme Court and in the county courts continues to apply. Queen's Counsel wear a short wig and silk (or stuff) gown over a court coat. Junior Counsel wear a short wig and stuff gown with bands. Solicitors wear a black stuff gown with bands but no wig. The direction was made by Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the Lord Chancellor, with the concurrence of the Heads of Divisions. The Lord Chancellor proposes to consult further with a view to reaching a long-term decision.

Revenue

Johnston (HMIT) v Britannia Airways Ltd; ChD(Knox J); 7 July 1994.

For corporation tax purposes, expenditure on major overhauls of jet engines required every three or four years for each engine in order to retain a certificate of airworthiness was properly included in the company's accounts on an accruals basis during the accounting periods before the expenditure fell due. The accruals method gave a sufficiently accurate figure for the company's profits, matching the true costs and the revenue in any period according to the principles of commercial accountancy.

Ian Glick QC and Alan Griffiths (Inland Revenue Solicitor) for the Crown; Andrew Park QC and Felicity Cullen (Norton Rose) for the taxpayer.

Shipping

Mediterranean Freight Services Ltd v BP Oil International Ltd; CA (Nourse, Hirst, Hoffmann LJJ); 7 July 1994.

Shipowners were not entitled to invoke the indemnity under art IV, r 6 of the Hague-Visby Rules, which provides that the shipper of goods of an inflammable or explosive nature shall be liable for all damages arising out of the shipment, where they themselves were in breach of their obligations under art 111, r 1 to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy.

Stewart Boyd QC and Nicholas Hamblen (Dorman & Co) for the appellants; Michael Harvey QC and Simon Crookenden (Jarvis & Bannister) for the respondents.

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