Law Report: Case Summaries

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


R v Sinclair and anor - CA (Crim Div) (Farquharson LJ, Tudor Evans, Rougier LJJ), 7 Aug 1992.

Where evidence of police interviews was recorded on tape it was not unusual for counsel on both sides to agree a summary. Such agreement was a conditional concession and did not mean that thereafter the tapes might not be played. If an issue arose during the trial which could only be resolved by admitting the tapes before the jury, then they might be played. If they were to be played to show negative evidence then counsel could jointly agree that the jury be told that nothing was said about the matter on the tape. If the tapes contained positive evidence they must be played.

Edmund Alexander (Registrar of Criminal Appeals); Simon Myers (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellants; Peter Finnigan (CPS) for the Crown.

R v Tyler and ors - CA (Crim Div) (Farquharson LJ, Tudor Evans, Rougier JJ), 14 Aug 1992.

The appellants appealed against conviction on the ground that the indictment on which they were arraigned, which was later amended, was fundamentally defective and therefore a nullity in that the particulars of the offence were defective, widening the ambit of the offence. Dismissing the appeal, the court held that an indictment where the particulars disclosed the correct offence but widened its ambit was not in the same category as where an offence unknown to law was alleged; it gave an imperfect description of one that did and was capable of amendment.

Ian Jobling (Registrar of Criminal Appeals); Charles Burton (Registrar of Criminal Appeals); Brian Reece (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellants; David Stokes QC and Julian Christopher (CPS) for the Crown.

European law

Regina v Secretary of State for Social Security, Ex p Equal Opportunities Commission - ECJ, 7 July 1992.

Art 7 of EC Directive No 79/7 of 19 Dec 1978, on the progressive implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women in matters of social security, authorised a state pension scheme by which the determination of a statutory pensionable age differed according to sex for the purposes of granting old-age and retirement pensions and also forms of discrimination which were necessarily linked to that difference, such as unequal lengths of contribution periods to the national social security scheme.


Practice Direction: Crown Court Centres - CA (Crim Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth, CJ), 31 July 1992.

With the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor and pursuant to s 75(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, with effect from 1 October 1992, where a notice of transfer was served under s 53 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, the proposed place of trial to be specified in accordance with para 1(1) of Sch 6 should be a crown court centre which was equipped with live television link facilities.

The following Crown Court centres were so equipped: Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Caernarfon, Cardiff, Carlisle, Central Criminal Court, Chelmsford, Croydon, Exeter, Gloucester, Grimsby, Guildford, Harrow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Lewes, Lincoln, Liverpool, Maidstone, Manchester, Mold, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Sheffield, Southwark, St Albans, Stafford, Swansea, Teesside, Truro, Winchester, Wolverhampton.

Harris v Lopen Group Ltd - CA (Stuart-Smith, Scott LJJ), 30 July 1992.

The QBD Practice Direction of 8 March 1985 (1985) 1 All ER 889 could not alter the effect of s 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 under which 'service by post is deemed to have been effected, unless the contrary has been proved, at the time when the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post'. What was the ordinary course of post was a question of fact. The practice direction provided guidance where there was no evidence of the ordinary course of the post. However, s 7 and the direction did not apply where there was evidence of receipt.

Daniel Pearce-Higgins Cartwrights, Bristol) for the defendant; Peter Barrie (Richards Butler for Ash Clifford, Bridgwater) for the plaintiff.

Practice Direction: Application to admit video recordings of testimony from child witness - CA (Crim Div) (Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ), 31 July 1992.

(1) The procedure for making an application for leave to adduce a video recording of testimony from a child witness under s 32A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, as inserted by s 54 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, is laid down in r 23C of the Crown Court Rules 1982, as inserted by the Crown Court (Amendment) Rules 1992.

(2) Where a court grants leave to admit a video recording in evidence under s 32A(2) of the 1988 Act it might direct that any part of the recording be excluded (s 32A(3)). When such a direction is given, the party who made the application to admit the video recording must edit the recording in accordance with the judge's directions and send a copy of the edited recording to the appropriate officer of the crown court and to every other party to the proceedings.

(3) Where a video recording is to be adduced during proceedings before a crown court, it should be produced and proved by the interviewer, or any other person who was present at the interview with the child at which the recording was made. The applicant should ensure that such a person will be available for this purpose, unless the parties have agreed to accept a written statement in lieu of attendance by that person.

(4) It is for the party adducing the video recording to make arrangements for the operation of the video playing equipment in court during the trial.

(5) Once a trial has begun, if by reason of faulty or inadequate preparation, or for some other cause, the procedures set out above have not been properly complied with, and an application is made to edit the video recording, thereby making necessary an adjournment for the work to be carried out, the court may make at its discretion an appropriate award of costs.

(6) This practice direction shall take effect on 1 October 1992.


R v Horseferry Road Justices, Ex p Bennett - QBD (DC) (Woolf LJ, Pill J), 31 July 1992.

Where a defendant in criminal proceedings alleged that he had been brought within the jurisdiction by disguised extradition or other improper means, the circumstances by which he was brought into this country did not amount to an abuse of process and did not prevent him being tried here. He might have a remedy by invoking the rights of international law, or by bringing a civil action such as an action in tort.

Alan Newman QC and Brian Jubb (Hallman Blackburn Gittings & Nott) for the applicant; Colin Nicholls QC and Robert Fischel (CPS) for the Crown.