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Criminal Defence Blog

Archive for June, 2016

Religiously Aggravated Common Assault

Kirsty Day of Forrest Williams


Racially/ religiously aggravated common assault


Patrick was charged with assault by beating and racially/ religiously aggravated common assault.


Sentencing guidelines show that Patrick could have been potentially facing up to 2 years’ imprisonment under these charges, should he be found guilty.  He was adamant that he was not guilty and we believed him.


Patrick came to our offices for a meeting with solicitor, Steve Williams, to discuss the charges against him and put forward his side of the story.


Patrick was terrified at the prospect of being charged with religiously aggravated common assault and explained that he had got into an argument with his ex-partner regarding access to their young son.  He admitted that they’d been arguing, but strongly denied there being any racial or religious element to their argument and that any contact with his ex-partner was in self-defence as she’d been pushing and shoving him.


When someone looks to plead not guilty to a charge, many firms believe there is not much work that needs to be done prior to the first court hearing as you will only enter your not guilty plea and the Magistrates will adjourn the matter for a trial.  At Forrest Williams we never take this stance, we believe that being pro-active is always the best way forward.


Rather than sit back and wait for this hearing to pass without preparation, we decided to be pro-active and request prosecution papers to see what evidence of religiously aggravated common assault the CPS had against him.


Patrick was able to review the CPS paperwork and discuss this with Steve Williams prior to his court date. On the date of the hearing, Steve was there thirty minutes early ready to discuss Patrick’s case with him and reassure him that we would fight his corner no matter what it took.


Because of this determination Steve was able to liaise with the prosecution before even entering the court room, and by the time Patrick’s case was to be brought before the Magistrates, the CPS acknowledged we had too strong a defence to proceed and the case was dropped with no further action.


If you want to be represented by a firm who fights for your side of the story please call 01623 397200.



Arrested Juvenile – amendment to legal definition



Arrested Juvenile – amendment to legal definition


The upper age limit in the definition of arrested juvenile in section 37(15) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) has been raised from 16 to 17 years.


When did this change take place?


On 26 October 2015, the definition of arrested juvenile under section 37(15) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) was amended by section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. This provision was commenced by The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2015


What are the effects of this amendment?


This means that for the purposes of section 38 of PACE (Duties of custody officer after charge):


  • the additional grounds for authorising detention after charge set out in subsection (1)(b); and
  • the requirement in subsection (6) to move a juvenile who has been detained after charge to local authority accommodation pending appearance at court, apply to any juvenile charged with an offence who appears to be under the age of 18.


What were the provisions prior to this change?


The statutory amendment supersedes the current provisions of PACE Code C which refer to sections 37(15) and 38 of PACE. These are:


  • Paragraph 1.5A(a) and Notes for Guidance 1L and 1M


  • Paragraph 16.7 and Note for Guidance 16D.


Until a revised code is issued, references which indicate that the maximum age limit for transfer to local authority accommodation is 16 no longer apply.


Are there any related amendments to the law?


There is also a corresponding amendment to The Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991 (as amended), Regulation 6.


This modifies section 25 of the Children Act 1989 with regard to placing children detained under section 38(6) of PACE in secure accommodation and the considerations to be applied.


The amendment simply applies the modifications previously applicable – children under the age of 17 to children who are under the age of 18.


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