Public Law & Crime 2 ( Nov07)


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Public Law & Crime 2 ( Nov07)

  1. 1. PUBLIC LAW & CRIME Rose Moore, Teck Chon, Robert Simpson, Christopher Dalziel LEGAL NEWS
  2. 2. Discrimination against ethnic lawyers? <ul><li>Article title: ‘Black and Muslim Lawyers Plan Breakaway Regulator’ </li></ul><ul><li>Date of article: 16 th October 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Article source: The Times Online </li></ul><ul><li>[] </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who is accusing who? <ul><li>• The Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) and the Society of Black Lawyers accusing the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) of racial discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>• SRA is regulatory arm of the Law Society, and is Britain’s legal watchdog </li></ul>
  4. 4. How row was ignited <ul><li>• White employee investigated on grounds of fraud and making racist comments – but case dropped by SRA because she was pregnant </li></ul><ul><li>• Asian lawyer investigated for overcharging client by £18 – accusation proved to be false, firm spent £14,000 on his defence </li></ul><ul><li>• Keith Vaz asked SRA for figures </li></ul>
  5. 5. The accusation <ul><li>• Racial discrimination – ethnic solicitors are more than twice as likely to be investigated on grounds of misconduct than white counterparts </li></ul><ul><li>• SRA figures show that, in 2006, 62% of investigations related to non-white lawyers </li></ul><ul><li>• Non-white lawyers represent just 22% of total population of solicitors </li></ul>
  6. 6. Furthermore… <ul><li>• Rebellion </li></ul><ul><li>AML and the Society of Black Lawyers want to break away from SRA and form own watchdog body </li></ul><ul><li>• From next year, the Law Society will no longer be able to compel particular interest groups to sign up to it as their representative body </li></ul>
  7. 7. SRA’s defence <ul><li>• Figures in question were published last year </li></ul><ul><li>• Large due to part of wider category which included mixed race or “other” </li></ul><ul><li>• Black and ethnic solicitors tend to be disproportionately concentrated in small/sole-practitioner firms, which are more likely to receive misconduct allegations </li></ul>
  8. 8. Furthermore… <ul><li>• SRA reiterated that it is the statutory regulatory body for all solicitors, and it is not possible to be regulated by anyone else </li></ul>
  9. 9. Guilty or not guilty….. of hiding?! <ul><li>JL (a Youth) v Director of Public Prosecutions (2007) High Court Queens Bench Division. </li></ul><ul><li>Case source:October 8 2007, The Times: </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Charge… <ul><li>Our ‘Dwane’ (the youth) was charged and convicted with being a: </li></ul><ul><li>“ person being found in ….. any enclosed yard, for any unlawful purpose.” Under the 1824 Vagrancy Act. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Facts… <ul><li>Once upon a time (16 June 2006)flat 4, of number 13 Claremont Terrace was broken into and someone chored some keys. </li></ul><ul><li>Two days later a Community Support Officer, behind the block of flats heard glass smashing. She saw ‘Kevin’, climb from the rear yard of number 13 into number 14. </li></ul>
  12. 12. And then… <ul><li>When police arrived they found ‘Dwane’, ‘Kevin’ and their mate ‘Tezza’ hiding in the back yard of number 14, with the stolen keys. </li></ul>
  13. 13. ‘ ello, ‘ello, ello …. …… .. “What are you doing?” … . “Err, nowt, I’ve dun nowt”
  14. 14. A Rogue and a Vagabond <ul><li>Dwane appealed against his conviction on the grounds that; </li></ul><ul><li>1 - hiding from the police as such is not an unlawful purpose within the section. </li></ul><ul><li>2 – even if he were involved in the burglary he still did not have unlawful purpose at the time of being discovered – it would have been just before discovery . </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Verdict: <ul><li>The High Court allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction, stating: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Section 4 was preventive in nature and was intended to prevent conduct escalating into mainstream criminal conduct. It should be resorted to with caution.” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Protecting the elderly <ul><li>Article title: ‘Elderly witnesses to testify from home’ </li></ul><ul><li>Date of article: 8 th November 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Article source: The Times Online </li></ul><ul><li>[] </li></ul>
  17. 17. The worrying facts <ul><li>• Up to 500,000 elderly people could be victims of street crime, bogus traders or abuse in their own or care homes – but many crimes go unreported </li></ul><ul><li>• King’s College London found that 342,000 people aged 66 and over experienced mistreatment in 2006 (figure doesn’t include street crime) </li></ul><ul><li>• Old people often reluctant or fearful of testifying </li></ul>
  18. 18. The proposal <ul><li>• To enable frail and vulnerable elderly people to testify from their own homes via video link </li></ul><ul><li>• DPP has launched draft policy, and says that CPS is determined to bring perpetrators to justice </li></ul><ul><li>• CPS will work together with police, health and social care agencies, and voluntary and community organisations </li></ul>
  19. 19. Key crimes targeted by CPS <ul><li>• Abuse or neglect by family members/care workers </li></ul><ul><li>• Those based on vulnerability, eg. muggings, doorstep theft, rogue traders </li></ul><ul><li>• Those motivated by hostility/hatred towards people because of their age and infirmity </li></ul>