Below is a list of ten of the bigger stories of the year, covered on UK Criminal Law Blog, predictably involving sex and death.
The murder conviction of Ashley Charles was a popular post this year. Mr Charles plunged a broken bottle into Phillip Sherriff’s neck after an innocuous argument in a bar. He received a life sentence with a 14-year tariff. He appealed against conviction and sentence and both were dismissed.
This case attracted obvious interest; after getting himself flashed by a speed camera, then lying about it, then getting his then wife to lie about it, then cheating on his then wife…it all came tumbling down around Chris Huhne, the ‘disgraced’ former MP.
This was a very popular story on the blog. Ian Watkins, former Lost Prophets singer, pleaded to a series of child sexual offences including conspiracy to rape a baby and attempted rape of a baby. He received a 35-year extended sentence.
Jeremy Forrest, a former school teacher, ran away with a 15 year old student with whom he had had a sexual relationship. After an adventure in France, Forrest was arrested and brought back to the UK.
The Marine A case came to a head in late 2013 with the conviction for murder of one of the five who originally were charged. Marine A, who later had his anonymity lifted, executed an injured insurgent who had been firing at him and his men.
Stephen Gough, aka the Naked Rambler, likes walking around wearing nothing but a backpack, a hat and compass attached to lanyard. So what? Well the authorities don’t take kindly to it and the saga between Gough and the CPS (which has rumbled on for years) continued in 2013.
The Neil Wilson case was famous, not because of what the defendant did (although that was obviously a part) but because of the barrister and judge said (or didn’t say, in the event).
Sgt Nightingale made the headlines in 2013 for possession of a firearm and ammunition. The sequence of events went something like: plea of guilty, sentence appeal, application to vacate the plea, plea of not guilty, trial, conviction. Phew! After a lengthy and expensive legal battle, he was really no better off.
One of the bigger stories of the year was the conviction and sentence (and subsequent Attorney-General’s Reference) of the former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall for child sex offences.
Whole life tariffs
This is an issue which seemed to come to the fore in 2013 – though whole life tariffs have been around for ages, in 2013, we saw more defendants receiving them. There is a dispute between Europe and the UK Parliament as to their lawfulness, and even the Judges can’t decide whether at the moment (before the Europe issue is decided) it is okay to impose a whole life sentence!
We think it has been an interesting year in terms of the criminal law. Let us know some of your favourite posts/stories if they don’t feature on the list above.
Oh, and don’t forget about the podcast – a 40 ish minute chat each week between Lyndon, Dan and Kim (with some occasional guests) about the topical criminal law stories. Thanks for reading. See you in 2014.