It is well known that drink driving is a criminal offence which will lead to disqualification and in serious cases, imprisonment. For a long time however, there has also been an offence of driving whilst impaired by drugs and now the Government have created a new offence specifically of drug driving.
With drink driving, if a person’s breath, blood or urine reading is over a set limit, then they can be convicted of the offence without any need to prove that their driving was impaired by the consumption of alcohol. However, this is not the case with drug driving and the Government has now created a new offence and is currently consulting with experts to set equivalent limits for a range of controlled drugs. In order to make drug detection easier therefore, the Home Office announced approval of one Drug Screening Device (DSD) in January 2013. There are many different types of DSDs, some of which can be used at the roadside and some of which cannot. The one currently approved can test for up to 6 different drugs, although the current approval is solely for THC, the active compound in cannabis.
This approved device can only be used indoors, therefore Police will only be able to use this device in the Police Station once someone has been arrested and detained. In practice this means that the Police will almost certainly have to continue to use previous methods, (e.g.roadside impairment tests) in order to gather sufficient evidence for an arrest. They can then use a DSD (which tests saliva) at the police station to screen for the presence of drugs followed by a blood or urine test to provide evidence of the level in the person’s system. It is clear therefore, that for the time being proving drug driving will remain more difficult to prove than it is for drink driving.
If you are facing prosecution for drug driving, drink driving or any other driving offence, please contact Sally Dale or Kieran Dunphy E: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 280262
The government has announced a7% increase to the policing budget, up to £1.1billion. This represents up to £16.9 billion in total for the financial year 2022/23.
The increase is said to help support the delivery of the Beating Crime Plan which sets out the government’s strategic approach to cutting crime. The plan gives the detail of the areas where efforts will be focused, the places, the people and the criminal enterprises fuelling the drug trade.
The “bold new measures to drive down crime” are set out in the plan:
• reconnecting the police with the public – every person will have digital access to the police via an online platform. Interactive police services will be available in one place with names and contact details for neighbourhood officers.
• improve the response from 101 and 999 calls – league tables are to be developed for answering calls and making sure the public know the responsiveness of their local force.
• intervention with young people – the intervention is to keep young people away and safe from violence. The plan is to focus on those admitted to A&E with knife wounds or following contact with the police. Specialist teams will be sent into schools in areas where serious violence is an issue to support young people to reintegrate into education.
• electronic monitoring – the use of this type of monitoring will be increased across a further 13 police areas for serious acquisitive offenders. The focus will be on tracking those released from prison in order to deter and detect further acquisitive crimes.
• alcohol tags – the tags detect alcohol in the sweat of the user. They will be used on offenders of “drink-fuelled” crime released from prison in Wales. The use of the tags is to help change behaviour and reduce violence and alcohol-related offending.
• employment – prison leavers will be encouraged to secure employment with the civil service aiming to recruit 1,000 prison leavers by the end of 2023.
• knife crime- the conditions on the use of section 60 searches will be permanently relaxed to enable the police to take more knives off the streets.
• Police and Crime Commissioners – the role of PCCs will be expanded, and they will be given tools and levers needed to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour.
A recent government report set out that their targeting of criminals has resulted in a 14% fall in overall crime, recruitment of 11,053 additional police officers, the closure of over 1,500 county lines, nearly 16,000 knives removed from the streets and 300,000 young people reached through the Violence Reduction Units.
Funding to the PCCs is also increasing by an additional £796 million is there is full take-up of precept flexibility. The PCCs will have up to £10 of precept flexibility per Band D property over the next three years to use. The police precept is the way each police force raises additional funding for policing activity through council tax.
In 2022 the government says the aim is to see:
• more officers to specifically tackle serious organised crime;
• a National Crime Laboratory will be created to drive the use of innovative data science to prevent and reduce crime;
• the testing of ways to investigate rape cases;
• that victims of rape and serious sexual crimes are not left without a mobile phone for more than 34 hours;
• an increase of the monitoring of responsiveness to 101 and 999 calls;
• investment in law enforcement intelligence and investigations to tackle economic crime;
• improvements in gathering intelligence relating to firearms;
• investment in tackling fraud;
• investment in major law enforcement programmes and IT capabilities.
The publication of the provisional funding settlement opens a period consultation and the final police funding settlement will need to be debated in Parliament.
How can we at Dale & Dunphy help?
We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Kieran Dunphy email@example.com or 07748 638752
[Image credit © Crown Copyright ]
New legislation concerning Drug-Driving offences prohibits driving and other driving-related activities if the person in charge of the vehicle is ‘unfit through drink or drugs’, the definition of unfit is that his or her ability to drive ‘properly’ is impaired. It is not a traffic offence simply to be under the influence of drugs, nor is there currently any drug-driving ‘legal limit’ such as with alcohol.
Driving Behaviour – Was the defendant arrested following an accident, moving traffic offence or erratic driving behaviour? Could unfitness at the time be implied by the driving behaviour? In such cases the evidence of lay or police witnesses as to the driver’s behaviour may be adduced.
For a prosecution to succeed, they need to provide the following evidence
1 – Witness evidence as to reasons for the stop (e.g. police/lay witnesses to erratic driving, accident etc and condition of driver when stopped, why drugs are suspected)
2 – Full details of defendant’s performance on impairment tests (copies of pro-forma e.g. form MG-DDG)
3 – Statement from FME as to findings of impairment and a condition which may be due to a drug
4 – Forensic evidence of presence of active drugs or active metabolites in the blood sample
Have you been stopped by the police, questioned, interviewed, on bail or charged with this offence? Call Kieran Dunphy on 01603 280262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for initial free advice
Reproduced with kind Permission of Emmerson Associates
Did you know that you do not have to enter a house to be guilty of burgling it?
Burglary is defined as entering as a trespasser with either the intent to steal or actually stealing. It can also be committed by entering with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm or inflicting it.
You can be a secondary party to burglary if you act as a lookout. You would not enter the premises yourself, but by acting as the lookout, you are assisting or encouraging the other person to commit the offence, and that makes you guilty too.
There are other ways of assisting or encouraging, such as acting as the getaway driver, as in the case of Gilmartin. In that case, the defendant was convicted of aggravated burglary. Three masked men entered a house and demanded jewelry from the occupant. After the men tried to shove her into a cupboard, she was held at knifepoint whilst £80,000 worth of jewelry was taken.
The defendant was not one of those three men. He stayed outside after taking the offenders to the scene and drove them away afterwards. When CCTV was checked, he was also seen near the scene earlier in the day on what appeared to be a reconnaissance mission.
When sentencing him, the judge commented that this was a “carefully planned and audaciously executed armed raid”. His role was a significant one as it was crucial to the success of the enterprise as he supplied and drove the getaway car.
The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against a sentence of thirteen years imprisonment.
In an earlier robbery case, a young woman was threatened by an offender with a knife; the defendant was stood behind the offender. He did not make verbal threats but was said to look threatening. He stated he had not instigated the robbery and had no prior knowledge of the knife. He pleaded guilty as he accepted that his presence added encouragement to the offence. He was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment, even though the offender received a referral order due to her young age and lack of convictions.
This liability, sometimes known as joint enterprise, does not apply just to violent theft offences as in the examples. It also applies to offences including straightforward burglary, murder, theft and assault.
Too often, we speak to suspects who have no idea that they could be guilty of serious offences due to what they think is a lesser role. This is why expert advice is needed at an early stage. This advice is free for everyone at the police station, so use your right to access such advice.
How can we help?
We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact Kieran Dunphy at Dale & Dunphy Solicitors
T: 01603 280262
[Image credit:”CCTV appeal: Burglary” by West Midlands Police is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 ]
This notice explains when and why we collect personal information about you; how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.
For clients of this firm, you should read this notice alongside our general terms and conditions which provide further information on confidentiality, data privacy etc.
This notice does not apply to any websites that may have a link to ours.
Who we are
Data is collected, processed and stored by Dale & Dunphy Solicitors. We are the ‘data controller’ of the personal information you provide to us. Dale & Dunphy Solicitors is a partnership providing specialist criminal defence and related legal services to clients. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under reference number 537314.
Our Data Protection Manager is Kieran Dunphy who can be contacted by email at email@example.com or via our Norwich office.
Our website and services are not aimed specifically at children because in legal work children are generally represented by their parent or guardians. If you are a child and need further advice or explanation about how we would use your data, please email our data protection officer.
What we need
The exact information we will request from you will depend on what you have asked us to do or what we are contracted to do for you. There are two types of personal data that you may provide to us:
Personal data: is the general information that you supply about yourself – e.g. name, address, gender, date of birth, contact details, financial information etc.
Sensitive personal data: is, by its nature, more sensitive information and may include racial or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, political opinions, health data, trade union membership, philosophical views, biometric and genetic data.
In the majority of cases personal data will be restricted to basic information and information needed to complete ID checks. However some of the work we do may require us to ask for more sensitive information.
Sources of information
Information about you may be obtained from a number of sources; including:
You may volunteer the information about yourself
You may provide information relating to someone else (if you have authority to do so)
Information may be passed to us by third parties so that we can carry out your legal work. (E.g. Panel providers who allocate work to law firms, the Police and Courts, Organisations that may refer work to us, Medical or financial institutions)
Why we need it
The primary reason for asking you to provide us with your personal data is to allow us to carry out your request, which will usually be to represent you and/or carry out legal work on your behalf.
Examples of what we may use your information for (this is not an exhaustive list):
Verifying your identity
Verifying source of funds
Communicating with you
To establish funding of your matter or transaction
Processing your legal transaction including:
Providing you with advice; carrying out litigation on your behalf; attending hearings on your behalf; preparing documents or to complete transactions
Keeping financial records of your transactions and the transactions we make on your behalf
Seeking advice from third parties; such as legal and non-legal experts
Responding to any complaint or allegation of negligence against us
Who has access to it
We have a data protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal data. We will not sell or rent your information to third parties. We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.
Generally, we will only use your information within Dale & Dunphy Solicitors. However, there may be circumstances, in carrying out your legal work, where we may need to disclose some information to third parties; such as (non-exhaustive list):
Courts or Tribunals
Solicitors acting on the other side
Asking an independent Barrister or Counsel for advice; or to represent you
Non legal experts to obtain advice or assistance
External auditors or our Regulators; e.g. Legal Aid Agency, Lexcel, SRA, ICO etc.
Bank or Building Society; or other financial institutions
Providers of identity verification
Any disclosure required by law or regulation (e.g. prevention of financial crime and terrorism)
Where there is an emergency and we think you or others are at risk
In the event any of your information is shared with third parties, we ensure that they comply, strictly and confidentially, with our instructions and they do not use your personal information for their own purposes unless you have explicitly consented to them doing so.
There may be some uses of personal data that may require your specific consent. If this is the case we will contact you separately to ask for your consent which you are free to withdraw at any time.
How do we protect your personal data
We recognise that your information is valuable and we take all reasonable measures to protect it whilst it is in our care. We have high standards of technology and operational security in order to protect personally identifiable data from loss, misuse, alteration or destruction. Similarly, we adopt a high threshold when it comes to confidentiality obligations and both internal and external parties have agreed to protect confidentiality of all information; to ensure all personal data is handled and processed in line with our stringent confidentiality and data protection policies. We use computer safeguards such as firewalls and other electronic protection means; and we enforce physical access controls to our buildings and files to keep data safe.
How long will we keep it for
Your personal information will be retained, usually in computer and/or manual files, only for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected; or as required by law; or as long as is set out in any relevant contract you may hold with us. This will usually be either:
As long as necessary to carry out your legal work; or
For a minimum of 6 years from the conclusion or closure of your legal work; in case you, or we, need to re-open your case for any reason
What are your rights?
Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), you are entitled to access your personal data (otherwise known as a ‘right to access’). If you wish to make a request, please do so in writing addressed to our Data Protection Manager. A request for access to your personal data means you are entitled to a copy of the data we hold on you – such as your name, address, contact details, date of birth, information regarding your health etc. – but it does not mean you are entitled to the documents that contain this data.
Under certain circumstances, in addition to the entitlement to ‘access your data’, you have the following rights:
1. The right to be informed: which is fulfilled by way of this privacy notice and our explanation as to how we use your personal data
2. The right to rectification: you are entitled to have your personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete
3. The right to erasure or the ‘right to be forgotten’: you have the right to request the deletion or removal of your personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. This right only applies in the following specific circumstances:
• Where the personal data is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was originally collected
• Where consent is relied upon as the lawful basis for holding your data and you withdraw your consent
• Where you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing
• The personal data was unlawfully processed
• Where you object to the processing for direct marketing purposes
4. The right to object: you have the right to object to processing based on legitimate interests; and direct marketing. This right only applies in the following circumstances:
• An objection to stop processing personal data for direct marketing purposes is absolute – there are no exemptions or grounds to refuse – we must stop processing in this context
• You must have an objection on grounds relating to your particular situation
• We must stop processing your personal data unless:
o We can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override your interests, rights and freedoms; or
o The processing is for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
5. The right to restrict processing: you have the right to request the restriction or suppression of your data. When processing is restricted, we can store the data but not use it. This right only applies in the following circumstances:
• Where you contest the accuracy of the personal data – we should restrict the processing until we have verified the accuracy of the data
• Where you object to the processing (where it was necessary for the performance of a public interest or purpose of legitimate interests), and we are considering whether our organisation’s legitimate grounds override your right
• Where processing is unlawful and you request restriction
• If we no longer need the personal data but you require the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim
Complaints about the use of personal data
If you wish to raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Manager who will investigate further.
If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO): Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Helpline number: 0303 123 1113. ICO website: www.ico.org.uk
Any questions regarding this notice and our privacy practices should be sent by email to our Data Protection Manager.
[Image credit: File:2018-10-07 Shooting at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Boys’ 10 metre air rifle (Martin Rulsch) 047.jpg” by Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Covid 19 and Business Closure – Legal Obligations
Firstly please put the safety of yourself and others first. Below the current legislation in a brief format is set out. But in essence, stay safe and remember the Duty Of Care you also owe to your employees.
At 2 pm on Saturday 21 March 2020, a law came into force which forced the closure of some businesses.
This law was enacted by virtue of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 (and mirror regulations that apply in Wales). The statutory instrument was made in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 45C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d), 45F(2) and 45P of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.
Which businesses must close?
Schedule 1 of the regulations state that the following businesses must close:
Other business types will likely be added to this list if the government adopts more stringent lockdown measures.
What is the penalty if businesses defy the law?
An unlimited fine can be imposed on the business and any officer of the company who has consented or connived etc. so keeping the business open (regulation 3). There are, however, other powers available to local authorities who are in charge of policing compliance with these regulations. Businesses that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines. As a further measure, and if needed, businesses that fail to comply could also face the loss of their alcohol license. More draconian powers are also available under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, and further powers will soon be law when the Coronavirus Bill becomes law.
In some cases, injunctive relief may be granted, the breach of which could be punished by up to 2 years imprisonment.
There are also reputational issues that need to be considered.
We can advise on all aspects of criminal and regulatory law, if any business is uncertain as to its legal obligations during this worrying time, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. But in basic terms,. please don’t flout this law, please put the safety, health and wellbeing of others including your staff first. Without your staff you have no business. We will get through this and be a better society for it.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice, then get in touch with Kieran Dunphy on 07748 638752 or E:firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help. We can advise on a plea, defences and potential sentences in a wide range of circumstances.
The Forensic Science Regulator regulates forensic scientists in England and Wales. The Regulator ensures that the provision of forensic science evidence across the criminal justice system is subject to appropriate standards. The Regulator has recently said that there are gaps in quality that need to be resolved in order to prevent the use of unreliable evidence in court. In its annual report, it was said that technology has moved on, but some scientists are sticking to the ways the work has always been done. Particular mention was made of DNA and how the ‘old’ way to take anti-contamination precautions was no longer fit for purpose.
In terms of technology and digital forensics, data volume and complexity have massively increased with a substantial amount of data in the cloud. Investigators may be without the tools and methods that are necessary to interrogate the data effectively.
One of the largest commercial providers of forensic services was recently the victim of a cyber-security attack. The company was infected with a ransomware computer virus which disrupted its IT systems. The attack led to the police suspending work with the company. There have been other problems in the industry too, another provider, Key Forensics Services, entered into administration and there was a criminal investigation into alleged irregularities at another company. These issues alone are concerning, and yet the Regulator also says that “forensic science has been operating on a knife-edge for years, with particular skills shortages in digital forensics and toxicology”.
What is being done?
The government committed to investing around £28 million over a year in order to improve forensic science. There is also a policy to introduce legislation to provide the Regulator with statutory enforcement powers. At the moment, the Regulator does not have any legal power to enforce compliance. No definite plan has yet been put into place although a Private Member’s Bill has been proposed. This delay is said by the Regulator to have resulted in slower progress towards compliance with quality standards, particularly in very small companies and police forces.
An Anonymous Reporting Line has also been launched for the reporting of quality concerns.
The annual report sets out priorities for the forthcoming year, issues include:
How could this affect me?
Forensic science covers a wide range of criminal evidence such as DNA and fingerprints though to the testing of blood for alcohol and drugs.
We will always ensure that prosecution evidence is properly considered and will instruct appropriate experts on your behalf when evidence needs to be obtained or challenged.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice, then get in touch with KIERAN DUNPHY on 07748 638752 or E: email@example.com and let us help.
We can advise on a plea, defences and potential sentences in a wide range of circumstances.
It is an offence to give false information to the police.
Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 provides:
‘Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry [commits an offence].’
This offence is punishable with up to 6 months imprisonment.
Before a person can be prosecuted the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is required. In practical terms, this means that the police cannot charge the offence without the prior permission of the Crown Prosecution Service (as Crown Prosecutors can consent on the DPPs behalf).
That, however, is not necessarily the end of the story.
There is a significant overlap between this offence and the offence of perverting the course of justice, which may also be committed in some instances where a false report to the police is made.
This much more serious offence, very often resulting in a lengthy term of imprisonment, may be considered where the intent behind the initial report was more considered and the consequences of the false report have gone beyond a mere waste of police resources, so for example where a large scale police operation has been put into place, or a person has been arrested as a result of the false report.
If you have made a false report to the police, it is essential to get early advice, preferably before the police discover the truth. The offence of perverting the course of justice is particularly complex in law. Early admission may, in some cases be the best policy, but much will depend on the exact circumstances.
The important thing is to explore all available options as soon as possible so that we can best assist you.
How we can assist
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, then get in touch with;
KIERAN DUNPHY on 07748 638752 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help.
We can advise on all aspects of your case.
The somewhat arcane topic of diplomatic Immunity has hit the news headlines following the tragic death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn, as a result of a road traffic collision.
It has been confirmed that the wife of an American diplomat has returned to the United States and will not face a further criminal investigation in the UK, after asserting a claim for diplomatic Immunity.
Despite a plea by the Foreign Secretary for Immunity to be waived, so far, the US Government has refused.
What is Diplomatic Immunity?
Diplomatic Immunity, and like procedures, is a protection afforded to foreign diplomats, consular officers, Heads of State (and other leaders) and often their families. At any given time, over 20,000 people in the UK have a claim to Immunity. Diplomatic Immunity can protect the individual from civil and in some cases, criminal liability. The rules are very complex, and protections may vary.
Article 29 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states:
“The person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.”
Why Is It Offered?
Diplomatic Immunity is designed to protect the sovereignty of foreign governments when conducting official business abroad and acts to protect individuals against a legal process which may be malign or otherwise unfair.
Its origins are rooted in many international treaties and enshrined in UK law via Section 2 of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964.
Can Immunity be Waived?
Diplomatic Immunity can be waived by the State but not the person themselves (although there was a recent case in another jurisdiction where this apparently occurred), this means that unless the US Government has a change of heart, that is the end of the matter so far as UK criminal proceedings are concerned.
Where the matter involves an alleged commission of a serious criminal offence, the UK Government will in some instances expel that person from the UK and refuse them future entry.
How can Dale & Dunphy assist
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, then get in touch with Kieran Dunphy 07748 638752 E: email@example.com and let us help. We can advise on all aspects of your case.