LAW REPORT / CASE SUMMARIES

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

Costs

Melville v Southwark Crown Court; QBD(DC) (Simon Brown LJ, Scott Baker J); 25 Oct 1995

It was incorrect for a Crown court to refuse to award a defendant's costs order after acceding to a submission of no case to answer, on the basis that there would have been a case to answer on alternative charges had they been brought, since that did not constitute material on which the court could hold there was a positive reason for declining to make the costs order.

Charles Salter (Wilson Barca) for the defendant.

Drugs

R v Gregory; CA(Crim Div)(Beldam LJ, Scott Baker, Stuart-White JJ); 19 Oct 1995

Where a defendant is convicted of drug offences and the court is mindful of making a confiscation order under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986, and where the realisable asset is the equity in the matrimonial home, a number of difficulties arise which require the court to proceed with great caution.

Julia Dick (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; John H. Sleightholme (CPS) for the Crown.

Revenue

Nuclear Electric plc v Bradley (Inspector of Taxes); CA (Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Millett, Schiemann LJJ); 17 Oct 1995

Interest accruing on sums set aside, but not specifically dedicated, for decommissioning nuclear reactors and storing and processing spent nuclear fuel was not "trading income" within s 393 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988. The making of investments and receipt of interest was not an integral part of the trade of generating electricity. Nor could it be said for certain that the funds in question would in fact be used for the purpose of decommissioning reactors or disposing of spent fuel over a period as long as the projected 80 years, notwithstanding that the company was at any given time insolvent, and all its resources would in all probability have to be used for the purpose. Nor would it have made any difference if there had been a segregated fund dedicated to meeting the future liabilities. A taxpayer could not convert investment income into trading income by simply creating a segregated fund.

John Gardiner QC, Jonathan Peacock and Rabinder Singh (Inland Revenue Solicitor )for the Crown; Graham Aaronson QC and Joseph Hage (Nuclear Electric) for Nuclear Electric.

Sentence

R v Dunham; CA (Crim Div) (Beldam LJ, Scott Baker, Stuart-White JJ); 10 Oct 1995

A court has jurisdiction to re-sentence a defendant after an unlawful sentence had been rescinded provided that it was made clear that the eventual sentence was passed within the 28-day time limit prescribed by s 47(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1981. That course was only open to the court if it was of the opinion that rescission did not of itself prevent it.

Kaja Reiff-Musgrove (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Michael Forward (CPS) for the Crown.

Value added tax

Housing t/a P & J Autos v Customs and Excise Commissioners; CA (Stuart- Smith, Pill LJJ, Sir John Balcombe); 17 Oct 1995

The commissioners could make assessments for a number of prescribed accounting periods in one total sum and on one assessment form even where it would have been possible to make separate assesments for each period, as had been held by the CA in Customs and Excise Commssioners v Le Rififi Ltd [1991] STC 103. Where calculations had been provided in schedules sent separately to the taxpayer showing how the sums assessed had been arrived at, the taxpayer had been adequately notified of the assessment.

Roderick Cordara (H.H. Mainprice) for the taxpayer; Guy Sankey QC (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown.

CORRECTION: The case summary of R v HM Commissioners of Inland Revenue, ex p Dhesi (Case Summaries, 14 August) should be replaced by the following summary:

A decision of a High Court judge whether to grant a voluntary bill of indictment is not susceptible of judicial review, but the decision of a prosecutor to seek a voluntary bill may be open to review on limited grounds. However, a dispute about the defendant's fitness to be committed or stand trial was not such a ground, but was something which the judge would take into account with supporting material in coming to his decision whether to grant the voluntary bill.

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