Law Report: Case Summaries

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

Children

Re C (a minor: secure accommodation); FD (Hollis J); 1 July 1994.

The court had jurisdiction to make a secure accommodation order under s 25 of the Children Act 1989 where a child had been granted bail with a condition of residence as directed by the local authority, even though s 20(1) of the Act and reg 6 of the Child (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991 made no reference to the Bail Act.

Paula Clements (Hart Brown & Co, Farnham) for the child; Susan Shackleford (Jonathan Jessup, Kingston upon Thames) for Surrey County Council.

Compensation

R v Investors' Compensation Scheme Ltd, ex p Bowden & anr; CA (Balcombe, Rose LJJ, Hutchison J); 24 June 1994.

The common law principles of compensation, subject to the exceptions identified in the Financial Services (Compensation of Investors) Rule 1990, were to be applied by the board of the Investors' Compensation Scheme (ICS) in assessing compensation paid to individual investors who had suffered loss from financial advisers engaged in investment business, and it followed that the board did not have a general discretion to award less than the legally recoverable costs. In this case, those principles required there to be no deduction for sums paid to investors in accordance with the particular transaction they had entered and which were subsequently disbursed by them. Furthermore, the rules required fairness to the particular investor and the board's decision to limit to pounds 500 the compensation for professional fees was not rational because no ceiling of any amount should have been imposed.

Nicholas Strauss QC, Neil Kitchener (Barnett Sampson) for the appellants; Michael Beloff QC, Richard McManus (Wilde Sapte) for the ICS.

Confession

R v Campbell; CA (Cr Div) (Stuart-Smith LJ, Kay, Dyson JJ); 30 June 1994.

In respect of a confession made by a mentally handicapped person in the absence of an appropriate adult, the test as to whether the trial judge should warn the jury, pursuant to s 77 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, of the special need for caution, was whether the case for the Crown was substantially strong without it.

Kieran Coonan QC, Christina Lambert (B M Birnberg & Co) for the appellant; Graham Boal QC, Martin Heslop (CPS) for the Crown.

Guilty plea

R v Eriemo; CA (Cr Div) (Glidewell LJ, Blofeld, Buxton JJ); 18 July 1994.

A plea of guilty was an admission of facts with which a defendant was charged. Where such an admission followed the refusal by the trial judge, in the exercise of his discretion, to sever the indictment, and to have a co-defendant tried separately, the defendant had no right of appeal against his conviction.

Peter Binder (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Paul Clark (CPS) for the Crown.

Identification

Freemantle v R; PC (Lords Templeman, Jauncey, Lloyd and Nolan, Sir Vincent Floissac); 27 June 1994.

The fact that the trial judge failed to give the jury the requisite general warning on the dangers of convicting a defendant on uncorroborated visual identification evidence did not mean that the appellate court was debarred from applying the proviso to s 14(1) of the Jamaican Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act (identical to the proviso to s 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968) and dismissing the appeal, in exceptional circumstances such as the instant case, where the visual identification was of exceptionally good quality.

Peter Thornton QC, Anthony Metzer (Simons Muirhead & Burton) for the appellant; James Guthrie QC (Charles Russell) for the Crown.

Jurors

R v Mickleburgh; CA (Cr Div) (Lord Taylor LCJ, Ognall, Gage JJ); 19 July 1994.

Any approach to a jury or any member of a jury to discuss the case or express news about it, might well amount to a contempt of court, by breaching s 8 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, or even an attempt to pervert the course of justice. That rule applied to court officials, ushers and jury bailiffs as much as to anyone else.

In this case, an usher had commented towards the end of the trial that the jury should have no difficulty in reaching a verdict in 30 to 45 minutes. In fact they were out for over four hours. The jury foreman visited and discussed the matter with the defendant 18 months later and an affidavit was taken from the foreman and used to found this appeal against conviction. A statement exhibited to the affidavit purported to give information about opinions expressed by jurors during their deliberation, which undoubtedly breached s 8. Statements had also been taken from other jurors: their Lordships had not seen them but they too risked breaching s 8 and being a contempt of court.

Although the appellant's current solicitors had been careful not to breach s 8, it was advisable when making such inquiries of jurors to obtain leave from the Court of Appeal (the trial judge being functus officio after verdict and sentence). No risk of prejudice was established and the appeal was dismissed.

Jeffrey Pegden (Dunne & Crome, Lowestoft) for the appellant; Graham Parkins QC (CPS) for the Crown.

Safety at work

R v Associated Octel Ltd; CA (Cr Div) (Stuart-Smith LJ, Kay, Dyson JJ); 19 July 1994.

The cleaning, repair and maintenance of plant, machinery and buildings necessary for carrying on business, was part of an undertaking for the purposes of s 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, whether done by the employer's own employees or by independent contractors. The ingredients of the offence of failing to discharge that duty were that that the accused was (i) an employer (ii) who so conducted his undertaking (iii) as to expose to risk to health or safety (iv) a person not employed by him (v) who might be affected by such conduct of the accused's undertaking.

Raymond Walker QC, Julian Waters (Hill Dickinson Davis Campbell, Liverpool) for the appellant; Hugh Carlisle QC (Health & Safety Executive) for the Crown.

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