Case Summaries: 9 December 1996

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

Bail

R v Liverpool City Magistrates' Court, ex p Santos; QB Div Ct (Staughton LJ, Tucker J) 15 Nov 1996.

Where a defendant failed to attend court on the date fixed for him to surrender to bail because his solicitor miscalculated the date, justices had to determine whether, in all the circumstances, the solicitor's mistake was a reasonable excuse for failure to attend, before exercising their discretion to institute proceedings under s 6(1) of the Bail Act 1976.

Clare Montgomery QC (R M Broudie, Liverpool) for the applicant.

Benefits

Alcott v DPP; QB Div Ct (Staughton LJ, Tucker J) 14 Nov 1996.

An appellant, whose partner was the signed claimant for their income support, could not argue that she was unable to comply with her legal obligation to pay outstanding financial penalties out of her income support because her partner refused to let her use it for that purpose, since the income support received by the appellant's partner was for both of them and the appellant was entitled to a share in that money to pay off her fines.

Richard Button (Marsh Ferriman & Cheale, Worthing) for the appellant.

Drugs

Re Agkurt; QB Div Ct (Schiemann LJ, Butterfield J) 20 Nov 1996.

The mere failure to include a copy of the Italian schedules specifying that heroin was a prohibited drug, while it might justify the Home Secretary in not proceeding further with an extradition request until such copy was furnished pursuant to a request for supplementary information, did not necessarily inhibit the magistrate from being satisfied that the authority to proceed related to an extradition crime. The magistrate might, by relying on a sworn statement for example, be satisfied that heroin was listed in the schedules.

Malcolm Fortune (Robin F Clark & Co, Gravesend) for the applicant; John Hardy (CPS) for the Italian government and governor of Brixton Prison.

Road traffic

Swan v Vehicle Inspectorate; QB Div Ct (Schiemann LJ, Butterfield J) 11 Nov 1996.

Time for laying informations ran from the date the person responsible for prosecuting became aware of the offence, not from when the investigating officer received an admission of guilt, since a person authorised to investigate whether an offence had been committed was not a prosecutor for the purposes of s 6(1) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. The fact that the appellant thought he was entitled to conclude that the officer had such authority made no difference.

John Gibson (Lester Dixon & Jeffcoate, Nuneaton) for the appellant; Patrick Sadd (Hamer Bell & Co, Worcester) for the respondent.

Tenancy

Esselte AB & anr v Pearl Assurance plc; CA (Stuart-Smith, Morritt LJJ, Sir John May) 8 Nov 1996.

Where during the course of a fixed term lease a tenant of an office building ceased to occupy it for the purpose of his business, Pt II of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 ceased to apply, thus causing the tenancy to expire on the contractual term date with no need for the tenant to serve a notice under s 27 of that Act or otherwise. The contrary decision in Longacre Securities Ltd v Electro Acoustic Industries Ltd [1990] 1 EGLR 91 (CA) was not to be followed, being inconsistent with earlier decisions (not cited in that case) of equal authority.

Paul Morgan QC (Geoffrey Delany, Peterborough) for the tenant; Jonathan Brock (Theodore Goddard) for the landlords.

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