Photo from the Croydon Guardian

Two teens sentenced for the manslaughter of Sylwester Mendzelewski

Introduction

On 10th June 2013 the fire brigade were called to an abandoned Sea Cadet Centre in Croydon, following reports that it was on fire. It had been used as a sleeping place by local rough sleepers.

It transpired that a 14 year old boy and a 16 year old girl (who have not been named, which is the usual practice with under 18s) had gone there, with another friend who “filmed them set[ting] fire to paper and a sleeping bag on top of some tyres” before they left, seemingly not realising that the fire was continuing.

Tragically, they were also unaware that Sylwester Mendzelewski was sleeping in the basement. When the fire caught hold, he was unable to escape and died due to smoke inhalation.

They were both sentenced on 18th August 2014.

 

Sentence

The two were charged with arson and manslaughter. It seems that they both admitted the above facts when they were arrested and interviewed, and pleaded guilty to arson straight away.

There was a trial on the manslaughter charge, with them both being found guilty in June this year. It is probable that there was no factual dispute of the prosecution case at the trial, with the jury being asked to consider what the two children were (and should have been) aware of.

Having a trial, there was no ‘credit‘ for a plea of guilty. It seems that they were both sentenced to three years youth detention.

 

Comment

We don’t have as much detail as we’d like, and we don’t have the sentencing remarks, which is always a disadvantage.

Sentencing for these sorts of cases, particularly with youths, is exceptionally difficult. Here, the youths were doing what thousands of youths do but the consequences were so catastrophic. The words of the police after sentence are worth bearing in mind :

The two young people are not hardened criminals but simply two individuals who did not think through the consequences of their actions that fateful day.

These two young people were old enough to understand the consequences associated with starting a fire of this nature, but it’s only now that this has become a reality to them.

Both have shown immense remorse but still have to live with the knowledge of what they did and the devastating impact on the lives of others.

The sentence has to mark the fact that a man died, whilst recognising that that was in no way the intention of the people involved. Their age has to be taken into account as well. It is not the case where there are guidelines, or where previous decisions of the Court of Appeal are or assistance – it’s all very fact specific.

The sentence is probably a bit more that we would have expected. Also, it is unclear why they both got the same sentence – we would have expected the boy to have got less than they girl as she was two years older. It may be that there will be an appeal in which all the details are aired. In the absence of that, we are none the wiser.

 

Vicar pleads guilty to ‘publishing’ obscene material

 

Photo from the BBC

Photo from the BBC

Introduction

On 18th August 2014, the (presumably soon to be ex-) Reverend James Ogley pleaded guilty to seven counts of publishing an obscene material.

Details are a bit vague. We know that these related to “having obscene conversations with children as young as 12 on an internet chat blog“. It seems that there were six occasions in June 2012 and one in November 2012.

 

What’s the offence?

Publishing an obscene article is an offence under s2 Obscene Publications Act 1959.

Whilst ‘publishing’ has connotations of a formal process, in fact someone publishes an article if he “distributes, circulates, sells, lets on hire, gives, or lends it, or who offers it for sale or for letting on hire; or, in the case of an article containing or embodying matter to be looked at or a record, shows, plays or projects it, or, where the matter is data stored electronically, transmits that data“. So that covers what was presumably the obscene conversations.

An article is obscene if, where there are more than one of them “the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons“. What were the images? We don’t know, other than that part set out above.

 

 

What sort of sentence will he get?

This is not an offence that is covered by the Sexual Offences Guidelines. It is an either way offence (maximum sentence of 5 years) and is so rare that it is not covered by the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. That means we’re pretty much in the dark as to what the proper sentence should be.

Given the way it is charged, it is not as serious as offences of grooming or incitement, which means that whatever happened, it is not the case that this was the prelude to a contact offence. For that reason, the sentence would be a lot less than might otherwise be expected.

 

Conclusion

Rev Ogley will return for sentence next month. Given the nature of the offences, whilst they are clearly serious and the custody threshold is probably passed. These are worrying offences obviously, even if they went no further than online conversations.

But, given that it was not a grooming offence, the catastrophic effect it will have on him (he will lose his job and will almost certainly never be able to work as a vicar again), and the protections that will be in place (not just the Sexual Offences Register, but also the fact that he is now known to potentially pose a risk to children and others) it is case where an immediate custody may not be needed.

 

 

 

 

Girl, 4, goes into shock after man opens bag of nuts on plane

“This doesn’t sound like a story which should feature on the UK Criminal Law Blog. What’s the offence?” Well, dear reader, all shall be revealed.

What happened?

The Daily Mail reported that whilst aboard a Ryanair flight from Tenerife to Stanstead, a Zimbabwean man opened a bag of nuts. So what? Well the problem was that also on board the plane was 4 year old Fae Platten, who suffers from a severe nut allergy. Her parents had informed the cabin crew and the cabin crew had in turn informed the passengers on the plane of the allergy. Passengers were told that peanuts would not be sold on board the plane and they were instructed not to open any bags of nuts they had already purchased.

Some 20 minutes into the flight, Fae began to feel ill and her parents alerted the cabin crew. She subsequently went into anaphylactic shock with her face, lips and tongue swelling, and blisters appearing on her skin. She was unable to breathe and lost consciousness. An ambulance worker on board responded to requests for any assistance from medically trained passengers and used her adrenaline pen to bring her back to consciousness.

The Zimbabwean man was said to have teenage children with him on board the flight. The Mail reported that another passenger remonstrated with the man as he went to open the packet of nuts and that he said something to the effect that he would do as he wished. When the plane landed, he was escorted to the terminal by police. He later claimed he did not have very good English language skills. It is unknown whether the police have charged him or are considering doing so.

The obvious offences

So what offences might have been committed?

Well, the obvious one is an offence against the person – either s.47 assault occasioning actual bodily harm or s.20 GBH.

ABH

For ABH, it is necessary to prove that there was an assault. For there to be an assault, the individual must cause another (in this scenario, Fae, the young girl) to fear immediate and unlawful violence. There hangs a question as to whether it could be shown that a) a 4 year old child appreciated the risk posed by i) her nut allergy and ii) a selfish passenger disregarding the instructions of the cabin crew so as to cause her to “fear” the consequences and if so, b) whether the fear of the consequences could constitute “violence”.

For those reasons, it is probably unlikely that ABH would be charged. It feels a little like forcing a square peg into a round hole – this is not the sort of activity that the offence was created to encompass (however, as with the social media prosecutions under Comms Act 2003 s 127, we know that that argument isn’t a bar to prosecution).

GBH

As for GBH, well “grievous” is to be given its ordinary meaning – really serious harm and it is not necessary that the injury is permanent or that the victim requires treatment. In assessing whether harm caused is “grievous”, account had to be taken of the effect on, and the circumstances of, the victim (R v Bollom, 2003) I think we can say that the anaphylaxis and loss of consciousness satisfy the requirement for really serious injury.

As to the causing or inflicting of the injury, there is no requirement that there be any contact between defendant and victim – the only real issue is one of causation – did the act of the accused result in the injury suffered by the victim. There is no requirement that there be an assault (“causing the victim to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence” – as in ABH, above) and so that doesn’t pose a problem.

There is however, a requirement that the GBH be “unlawful”. So what does this mean? Well it requires that there be some ill intent. That intent can be a specific intent (i.e. a desire to cause the harm) or reckless intent (i.e. an appreciation of the risk posed by the action(s) performed). In this case, the act of opening the bag of nuts would obviously fall under the latter – there was no direct intent to cause the girl harm, but after being given the warnings, there was an appreciable risk that harm would be caused to the girl by the opening of the packet of nuts. It is therefore only necessary to prove foresight of some physical harm. It is submitted that the warnings given (subject to the issue of his claimed poor English language skills) would satisfy this element.

Other offences

Aviation Security Act 1982 s.2 – destroying, damaging or endangering safety of aircraft

Right, bear with me. It doesn’t sound like the description of the offence fits these facts. But I think it does.

Section 2, states:

(1) It shall, subject to subsection (4) below, be an offence for any person unlawfully and intentionally—

(a) to destroy an aircraft in service or so to damage such an aircraft as to render it incapable of flight or as to be likely to endanger its safety in flight; or

(b) to commit on board an aircraft in flight any act of violence which is likely to endanger the safety of the aircraft.

Is it an act of violence? Well we doubted that earlier on in the post. However, it is always worth checking the interpretation sections because here, s.2(7) states:

(a) any act done in the United Kingdom which constitutes the offence of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, culpable homicide or assault or an offence under section 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28 or 29 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 or under section 2 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883…

And we have – I think – established that there is a basis to say that an offence under s.20 is made out.

Disclaimer

Of course, as usual, we add the disclaimer that we are basing this post on the news report and there may well be inaccuracies, omitted details and unknown information which could alter the position so far as to the permissibility of a prosecution.

Conclusion

There will be some that think that although this was a very selfish and stupid act (providing the man understood the warnings) a prosecution should not follow as it “feels a bit wrong”. This country has somewhat of a habit of unnecessary criminalising its subjects (again, think Comms Act 2003). In my view however, on the basis of the facts as understood above, I would press forward with a prosecution. I think the offence is made out and the arrogance and selfishness of the individual deserve punishment. 

Should Ched Evans play for Sheffield when he’s released from prison?

Photo from the BBC

Photo from the BBC

We have covered the case of Ched Evans, the Sheffield United player who was jailed for five years for rape in 2012 (here’s our piece on his appeal being dismissed). He will be released in October 2014.

On 13th August 2014 the BBC covered the news that there is a petition that is calling for him not to go back to his old job that has now reached 60,000 signatures.

It’s an interesting question. On the one hand, having a job is the best guarantee for a released prisoner that they don’t re-offend. Also, a conviction should not result in a ‘civil death’ and he has ‘served his time’ and therefore should not suffer further punishment.

On the other, there is the argument that his occupation falls into the category of professions where further restrictions can be placed. Not presumably on the basis that he presents a risk of harm to others, but that as a sportsman he should be a role model.

I can see both sides of the argument. On balance though (and it may be that I have too low an opinion of the role of footballers in society) I don’t see why he should be treated differently to an ‘ordinary’ person because of his celebrity status.

What do you think?

 

 

Image taken from the Daily Mail

What do you need to do to go to prison these days? 21 year old woman given suspended sentence for glass attack

Yasmin Thomas, 21, was given a 12 month custodial sentence, suspended for 2 years with 80 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. She was also ordered to pay £1000 in compensation to the victim and a £100 victim surcharge.

What happened?

The Mail reported that “Thomas’s friend had snatched [an e-cigarette] from a friend of [the victim], and had thrown it on the floor.

Thomas then picked it up and thrust the device at [the victim], demanding: ‘Are you not going to say thank you? Who do you think you are?’

She then lunged towards [the victim] with a broken glass, causing a serious gash to his left eyelid and two smaller cuts to his face.”

The victim needed stitches on his eye socket and small shards of glass to be removed from his eye. It was feared he had also suffered a fractured eye socket and more serious damage to his sight, though fortunately this was not the case.

The Mail report states that Thomas attacked her victim with a broken glass, although it is unclear whether she a) broke the glass with the intention of striking the victim with it, b) picked up a glass that was already broken or c) had in her hand a glass that was already broken.

Mitigation

The Mail reported that her representative said “Thomas had been diagnosed with an emotionally unstable personality disorder and had struggled to manage her temper from childhood.

She said she had sought help from mental health services prior to committing this offence and was waiting to undergo cognitive analytical therapy.”

Previous record

This was Thomas’ 18th conviction for violence. It is not known whether she had previously received a custodial sentence. Her last offence was reportedly in 2010.

Judge’s comments

‘You have a breathtaking record of violence, one of the worst I have ever seen from anyone your age.

‘It is not without a lot of hesitation and some reservations, I must confess, that I’m going to suspend that 12 month sentence for two years.’

‘Any offence at all will be sent back to this court and you will go straight down those steps to prison for at least 12 months.’

Sentencing guidelines

The relevant guidelines are the Assault guidelines.

My view

I would say that injury is serious in the context of the offence – constituting a finding of ‘greater harm’ for the purposes of the guideline. Additionally, the use of the broken glass as a weapon demonstrates higher culpability and therefore this would be a category one offence with a starting point of 18 months. There are aggravating features such as the manifest previous convictions for similar offences (although we don’t know if they involved the use of a weapon) and the fact that Thomas had (presumably) consumed a great degree of alcohol. In mitigation, as the Mail report highlighted, there are some mental health issues, namely a personality disorder and the fact that she is ‘attempting to turn her life around’ and had sought help prior to committing the offence. Her age may also have provided some mitigation though in my view, it doesn’t carry much weight. After taking account of the aggravating and mitigating factors, I would have placed the sentence at 20-24 months (the previous convictions outweighing any personal mitigation).

With full credit (we assume) for a guilty plea, that would be reduced to somewhere between 13 and 16 months.

However, it is important to note that I am basing my assessment of a recital of the facts in the Mail and the judge will have had much more information and heard submissions from counsel. Therefore, I cannot say that my assessment is right and the judge’s (see below) is wrong.

The judge’s view

We dont know how the judge approached the guidelines, but we know that he settled on a sentence of 12 months, meaning that before credit for the plea, he must have arrived at a sentence of about 18 months. That is definitely within the guidelines.

The judge then decided to suspend the sentence. The Mail report gives few clues as to the reasoning behind that decision however we can assume it is on the basis of her personality disroder, anger management issues and the fact that this is likely to be her “last chance”.

Comment

The Mail reported that comments online had included: ‘So what do you actually have to do to go to prison these days?’ and ‘It’s barbaric that she has avoided jail.

Of course, if Thomas does not reoffend (because she has received help for her personality disorder and anger management issues, then this sentence is a success and the decision to suspend her sentence is the right one. If not, she will undoubtedly go to prison if she commits another similar offence of violence.

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP for Bournemouth East reportedly said: ‘I am particularly concerned that the judge mentioned that he suspended [Thomas’s] sentence with ‘a lot of hesitation and some reservations. He was clearly troubled by her record.’

‘This is now the third case of this nature that I have seen in Bournemouth in recent months. So I will now be seeking a meeting with the Attorney General to discuss these particular cases and to ask whether changes to the law are necessary to ensure that cases of this kind do not occur again.’

The suggestion appears to be a measure to ensure such cases cannot receive suspended sentences. Let’s hope the new AG, Jeremey Wright, is not taken in by Mr Ellwood’s stupidity.

Hayley Southwell – suspended sentence for teacher who had affair with pupil

 

Photo from the Mirror

Photo from the Mirror

Introduction

We looked  last week at the case of Emily Fox, a teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a female pupil of hers, where we were slightly criticised for laying into that bastion of journalism, the Daily Mail. We suggested that they might generally a bit sensationalist when reporting sex cases. A bit, well, like this.

On 12th August 2014 the case of Hayley Southwell was reported. Ms Southwell was a 27 year old teacher who had a fully consensual relationship with a female pupil when she was aged from 16 to 18.

This was, however, illegal, by virtue of s16 Sexual Offences Act 2003. This raised the age of consent from 16 to 18 where the perpetrator is in a position of trust.

 

Sentence

The maximum sentence is five years. Ms Southwell was sentenced to 12 months, but suspended for two years.

The Sentencing Guidelines for this offence are at page 67. The Judge found a ‘degree of planning and grooming’, but there does not appear to be any other factors. This would be enough, technically, to put it into Culpability A, although this would be a feature of many similar cases.

What we don’t know is what the sexual activity actually was, although by implication it appears to have been a Category 1 case.

That would give a starting point of 18 months, with a range of 1-2 years. Allowing for credit for a plea of guilty, this gives the sentence that was passed of 12 months.

As to whether to suspend the sentence, that is something for the Judge to decide, seemingly unbound by guidance from the Court of Appeal. The Judge took account of the fact that Ms Southwell had never been in trouble before and had completely ruined what was a promising career in teaching and decided that she did not need to go to prison.

 

Conclusion

This sentence seems an eminently sensible one. This offences presents a very difficult sentencing exercise for a Judge. On the one hand this is consensual sexual activity by two people who are above the age of consent. On the other, it is a criminal offence and needs to be marked as such.

It seems to me that the complete ruining of Ms Southwell, coupled with the fact that she won’t be able to work at her chosen career, is enough, and there is no need to further punish her by locking her up.

 

Wayne Whitworth sentenced for historic sex offences

wayne

Introduction

Flicking through the BBC headlines, this story about Wayne Whitworth caught my eye. Mr Whitworth is not a celebrity, and there’s no great legal significance in his case, just one of the far too many cases that go through our Courts, leaving a trail of misery in its wake.

In short, he was sentenced to five years in prison for “three counts of rape of a girl under 16 and three of indecent assault of a girl under 14″. The facts aren’t set out in any great detail, but the “Police said he had “systematically” abused his victim, who came forward in 2013, over a three year period.

So far so good. There was a guilty plea, but we don’t know at what stage, but nothing out of the ordinary particularly about a five year sentence for this sort of offending.

 

Misreporting by omission?

What caught my eye was this. The headline reads “Man jailed for 1980s teen rape and indecent assault” before going straight on to say that Mr Whitworth was now aged 41. 

Now, by my maths that means that if the offences finished in 1989, then Mr Whitworth would have been aged from 13 to 16 during their commission. That puts a very different perspective on it. He was a youth at the time, and very different sentencing guidelines apply.

 

What are the guidelines?

The Sentencing Council has now issued two sets of definitive guidelines for sexual offences. The latest was from earlier this year.

What is very clear however, is that these guidelines do not apply to offenders under 18. There are references to certain offences within those guidelines (see page 151) but these are mainly for cases where there is factual consent.

What is clear is that a youth will get a substantially lower sentence than an adult. In a case such as this, it may well be half, if not less than that.

On this basis, after a discount for a plea of guilty, we would be looking at a starting point of about 16 years. This puts it right in the most serious bracket (see the table at page 11). This is on the basis that he was aged 13-16. It may be that he was younger than that, which makes the sentence even more severe.

At the time, there was the principle of doli incapax – the idea that for someone aged 14 it had to be proved that, in addition to the ‘usual’ elements of a crime, the young person knew that what he was doing was not just wrong, but ‘seriously wrong’ (there’s a good overview in the House of Lord’s case of JTB [2009] UKHL 20). This may be thought to be pretty hard twenty or thirty years down the line.

 

Conclusion

We don’t know enough about the facts of this case to comment on the sentence. Unless the facts are extreme, we would expect an appeal for the reasons set out above.

The increasing number of prosecutions for historical sex offences raises various issues, many of which have been played out in the media.

One aspect that hasn’t been considered yet is what to do with allegations against people who were teenagers at the time. This raises a whole further set of issues, none of which are easy to resolve. On current showing, this is not an issue that will go away anytime soon.

Image from the BBC website

Cannabis factory found in mental health facility in Wales

When searching for a missing person, police in Wales stumbled across a cannabis factory in a disused ward of Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff. The main building had been boarded up and disused for many years.

The Mirror reported that the operation was ‘sophisticated’ in that there were UV lights and ventilators in order to aid the growing process.

The offence

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s 6(2) created the offence of cultivation of a cannabis plant. It’s maximum sentence is 14 years’ imprisonment.

Guidelines

There were 30 plants found, which the Mirror stated had an approximate street value of £32,000. The drugs offences guidelines assume a yield of 40g per plant, which would mean 30 plants produce approximately 1.2kilos of cannabis.

When applying the guidelines to production offences, the courts are required to assess the indicative output of the operation – not merely the amount of drugs actually found. That raises two issues.

First, a cannabis production operation is a ‘going concern’ and therefore producers can expect more than one crop per year. The value of the operation can therefore be much higher than indicated by a simple assessment of the plants that are found.

Second, it will be necessary to assess how long the operation has been running and therefore the amount of drugs that has already been produced and sold. This may be a little difficult to assess and will of course rely on there being evidence to support any assertion.

Sentence

As described above, the process is more complex than simply adding up the amount of drugs found. additionally, depending on who (if anyone) is charged with this offence, the assessment of their role will be very important – the guidelines group offenders into lesser, significant and leading roles for the purpose of determining sentence.

Category 3 (based on 28 plants) starting points:

Lesser – High level community order

Significant – 1 year

Leading role – 4 years

We’ll update you if/when we hear about any developments. Let’s hope the police don’t make a hash of the investigation (sorry).

crown-court2.png

Private school teacher remanded in custody charged with child sexual offences

John Wunderle, 34, taught at the £15,000-a-year Bancroft’s School in Woodford Green, Essex. According to the Daily Mail, he was on bail for ‘grooming’ in relation to a 15-year-old girl, when she was seen in the back of his car. The Mail reports he then attempted to drive away but was subsequently arrested.

The offences

The Mail say: “He faces two charges of engaging in sexual activity with a minor and two of inciting a minor into sexual activity.” which, whilst not entirely accurate, is not a bad effort at getting the law correct.

The offences appear to be as follows:

s.9 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

Sexual activity with a child

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),

(b) the touching is sexual, and

(c) either—

(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

s.10 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003:

Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity

(1) A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,

(b) the activity is sexual, and

(c) either—

(i) B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii) B is under 13.

Maximum sentences

The maximum sentence for both offences is 14 years’ imprisonment.

Grooming

The Mail’s report stated that he was on bail for grooming. In fact there is no such offence. The offence is actually ‘Meeting a child following sexual grooming etc.’ and is an offence under s.15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The reason we say there is no offence is grooming is because for the offence to be completed, either the adult, or the child must travel with the intention of the other, following at least two communications between them. Essentially, the offence is the meeting (or travelling with the intention to meet) – not the actual communication with a view to committing a sexual act.

Although we have no information, it would appear that this has not been taken any further.

Remand and trial date

Already on remand, John Wunderle was again refused bail and therefore remained in custody. There will be another hearing on 20 October 2014 where he will be invited to enter a plea. A provisional trial date has been set for 15 December 2014.

David Rose, Rugby Referee, penalised for benefit fraud

Rugy

Introduction

David Rose was a part-time rugby referee for the Premiership and full-time Head of Development for Women’s Rugby for the RFU. Sadly, he lost the full-time job. As a result, he claimed Job Seekers Allowance.

We don’t have the exact details (what we do have comes from here) but it appears that Mr Rose would have had to fill out a form (as you’d expect for anything to do with the government) and he would have been asked a question along the lines of “are you working” or “do you have any other source of income“.

To this, we can surmise, he answered no. This would have been incorrect as he was still earning from his job as a rugby referee. In due course he was charged with ‘benefit fraud’, to which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a 12 month Conditional Discharge and ordered to pay £700 in costs. And presumably a Victim Surcharge, but this wasn’t reported.

 

What was the charge?

Hmm. We’d have to say that it is not clear. In the news report it is described as “giving false information for obtaining benefits“. This looks like it should be an offence under s112 Social Security Administration Act 1992 – this statute has been heavily amended, but reads like this still for this offence.

The problem with this is that Mr Rose was sentenced in the Crown Court and the s112 offence is summary only, so can only be tried in the Magistrates’ Court.

What we think has happened is that Mr Rose was charged with a similar offence, but under s111A of the Act (see page 71) which is basically the same as the s112 offence, but with added dishonesty – thus making it more serious.

If we are right, then in the Crown Court the case may have been looked at and it was decided that Ms Rose knowingly, but not dishonestly, furnished the false information, and so the plea to the s112 offence was taken. Whether this is lawful is doubtful.

But, of course, we don’t know. The reason why say this is due to the relatively short period of time, and the fact that Mr Rose came off JSA as soon as he got a job, would all point to it not being dishonest.

You may think that the sentence would give us some clue, but when you look at the guidelines, there’s not much help …

 

Sentencing Guidelines

If this is the s111 offence, then the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud apply. This is in the 5th column and 4th row and we can see that the sentence was perhaps below what would be expected.

With the s112 offence, the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines apply (look at page 107). This doesn’t actually give a different sentence to the s111 offence.

 

Why is Mr Rose guilty?

We are told that “Sam Jones, defending Rose, told the court his client had made a “genuine mistake”. If that’s true, why is he guilty? 

The law requires that he ‘knowingly’ gives false information. How does that square with it being a ‘genuine mistake’?

Again, all we know is the short extract from the news report above. It may well be that this is mis-reporting, or was taken out of context. Rest assured, a genuine mistake very rarely gives rise to criminal liability, and wouldn’t’ve done in this case.