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 Hanbridge; CA(Crim Div) (Steyn LJ, Pill, Wright JJ); 26 November 1992.

A trial judge was wrong in directing a jury that good character should be ignored unless the remainder of the evidence left them in doubt about guilt. If good character could be relevant to the issue of guilt, it ought to be considered as part of the totality of the evidence to determine whether there was any doubt about the defendant's guilt.

Constance Briscoe (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Karl Scholz (CPS) for the Crown.

R v Knutton; CA(Crim Div)(Leggatt LJ, Rougier, Sedley JJ); 13 November 1992.

A defendant, A, was not allowed to adduce evidence of bad character of another defendant, B, except (1)by asking B about his previous convictions in circumstances for which s 1(1)(f) of the Criminal Evidence Act 1898 expressly provided and (b)by leading or eliciting evidence of B's previous convictions when they were relevant to A's defence. Where A's defence was an alibi and cross- examination by B's counsel of prosecution witnesses had not put B in peril of having his convictions proved against him, evidence of B's previous convictions could not be admissible.

Timothy Willitts (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; P Dockery (CPS) for the Crown.

R v Toney; CA(Crim Div)(Lloyd LJ, Lathan, Smith JJ); 1 December 1992.

In the great majority of cases where a defendant is charged with doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice by interfering with a witness, the actus reus will be accompanied by unlawful means such as bribery or improper pressure, but the use of such unlawful means is not an essential ingredient of the offence. Unlawful means included a threat to do an otherwise lawful act or to exercise a legal right, but the Crown must prove the necessary intent.

Andrew Wheeler (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the appellant; Peter Haynes (CPS) for the Crown.

Family

K v H; FD (Sir Stephen Brown P); 2 December 1992.

In family proceedings, justices should accede to the parents' invitation to make a periodical payments order under Sch 1 to the Children Act 1989 which would embody the terms of an agreement for the benefit of the child since it was in the child's interests to have the security of an order.

Carolin Budden (Andrew M Jackson & Co, Hull) for the appellant.

Re L(minors); FD(Bracewell J); 10 December 1992.

In family proceedings, justices when faced with a lengthy and/or difficult case should consider the option of transferring the case to the higher tier of court. Cases estimated for hearing in excess of two, or at most three days, were rarely appropriate for determination by justices. When justices were faced with making difficult decisions based on conflicting expert evidence or on the evaluation of future risk of harm to children, it was appropriate to transfer the case to the county court which could then consider a tranfer to the High Court. The decision should be made at the earliest opportunity with co-operation between the magistrates' court and 'care centre' county courts.

Jane Probyn (County Solicitor) for Essex County Council; Martyn Levett (Thompson Smith & Puxon, Colchester) for the guardian ad litem; Michael Hosford-Tanner (Greenwood Page & Ward) for the mother; Joseph Quinn (Asher Prior Bates Partners, Colchester) for the father.

Housing

Tower Hamlets LBC v Ali and another; CA(Glidewell, Rose LJJ, Sir Christopher Slade); 24 November 1992.

Where an applicant who was unintentionally homeless and in priority need had made a first application for accommodation under s 62 of the Housing Act 1985 to an authority with which he had no local connection and that authority notified another authority with which he had a local connection, the notifying authority had not come under a duty to provide accommodation under s 65(2). Accordingly where the applicant refused the accommodation offered by the notified authority but later, being without accommodation again, made a further application to the notifying authority, having acquired a local connection with it, the notifying authority came under a duty to make accommodation available.

Andrew Arden QC and James Bowen (Tower Hamlets Law Centre); Terence Gallivan (TV Edwards & Co); for the applicants; Ashley Underwood (Council Solicitor) for the council.

Procedure

Millson v Braid; CA(Nourse, Beldam LJJ, Sir John Stocker); 12 November 1992.

A defendant was not estopped by res judicata from raising by way of set off and counterclaim a cause of action that could have been combined with a similar but distinct cause of action arising out of the same facts which the defendant had pursued to judgment against the same party in an earlier action where it was unjust to do so.

Timothy Sewell (Morris Goddard & Ward, Devizes) for the defendant; Richard Parkes (Ronald Nathan & Co) for the plaintiff.

Value added tax

Cooper & Chapman (Builders) Ltd; v Customs and Excise Commissioners; QBD(Brooke J); 27 November 1992.

Note 10 to item 1 of Group 1 of Sch 6 to the Value Added Tax Act 1983 which stated that 'holiday accommodation' included accommodation advertised or held out as holiday accommodation, did not mean the letting of flats for the first time after conversion on VAT-exempt leases was a taxable supply simply because they had been advertised as holiday accommodation. It would only be a taxable supply if the flats were actually let as holiday accommodation.

Joe Smouha and David Foxton (HH Mainprice) for the taxpayer; Charles Flint (Customs & Excise Solicitor) for the Crown.

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