INTERVENTION ORDERS IN TROUBLE – POLICE EXCEED THEIR POWER

The Supreme Court has overturned a finding of guilt against a man charged with contravening an intervention order on the basis that the order made by police prohibiting him from ‘entering or remaining in the vicinity’ of specified premises was invalid. The intervention order was made in favour of the man’s former wife following their separation and after an incident in which the wife alleged that he had trespassed on property and assaulted her. Those charges went to trial at which time the Magistrate rejected the...

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GUILTY FOR WALKING HIS DOG?

The Court of Criminal Appeal has set aside a verdict of guilty in a case in which the prosecution were relying on the fact that the person accused of robbery was in the vicinity on the same morning, that like the robber he walks around with his dog, and that he was of a similar appearance to the robber. Police had produced CCTV footage depicting the robber and despite the fact that the Judge who heard the trial was of the view that the facial appearance of the accused man was similar to that of the person in the video footage, the Court of...

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WHEN A SUCCESSFUL DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO COSTS

The exercise by an accused person of the right to remain silent when interviewed by police should not of itself be the basis for the police to avoid paying legal costs if the charges are dismissed after that person gives evidence in Court. In a recent case before the Supreme Court a woman who had been charged with theft appealed the decision of a Magistrate to refuse to order that the police pay her legal costs after the charge was dismissed. The woman had been apprehended by a security guard at a Foodland store after she had gone through the...

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WHEN CAN A CRIMINAL CHARGE BE FINALISED WITHOUT A CONVICTION?

Two recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court have considered the circumstances under which a criminal conviction should not be recorded against a person found guilty of an offence. In one case, this was despite the fact that the accused person was found guilty of the charge of assault after a six-day trial. Under the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act when a Court finds a person guilty of an offence for which it proposes to impose a fine, community service or both, then the Court may do so without recording a conviction if it is of the...

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