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Posts by: Nick Cassidy

Hundreds of Arrests Made in the EncroChat Hack Investigation

This entry was posted in Crime, For you, News on by .

With recent developments in the EncroChat hack, telephone evidence is set to be tested once again in the Criminal Courts. A Europe-wide operation has already seen over 700 arrests in the UK. 

 

What is EncroChat?

French law enforcement officers were able to hack into the ‘worry-free, secure communications’ system, EncroChat, which is believed by prosecutors to have a facilitated a ‘criminal marketplace‘. It is alleged that EncroChat allowed co-conspirators the means to communicate directly with adapted Android phones, before deleting data once a message had been read or an emergency passcode was inputted.

 

Telephone evidence can be a crucial part of a prosecution case. At DRN we test such evidence and regularly consider the admissibility of such evidence. David Lawson at DRN Solicitors explains: “It is important that a client does not automatically agree that such evidence should be put before a jury. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2002 are important pieces of legislation that we consider, along with how such evidence has been obtained, and whether the investigators have acted lawfully.”

 

Need to get in touch with a member of our complex Crime Department? Contact us on 01282 433241.

 

 

Is Cannabis being Legalised in the UK?

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A significant drop in the number of offences recorded for the possession of cannabis has led to MPs discussing its “back door decriminalisation”.

 

More than half of the police forces in the UK recorded 40% fewer cannabis-related crimes in 2018 compared to data from 2008. But rather than celebrate this figure as a potential trend in dropping crime rates, MPs are concerned that this points towards a different issue – the stealth decriminalisation of cannabis in Britain.

 

The Home Office has recently spoken out about calls to legalise the drug, saying:

 

“The Government has no plans to decriminalise recreational cannabis.” They then quoted that legalising the substance would “send the wrong message” to the vast majority of the public who don’t take drugs. A spokesperson also pointed out that talk of the decriminalisation or regulation of cannabis would pose a “potential grave risk of increased misuse of drugs,” particularly for young and vulnerable people.

 

The body responsible for monitoring policework in Britain, the Police and Crime Commissioner (or the PCC) has called for a review on legislation surrounding cannabis, and the way crimes related to the class b drug are treated by police chiefs and the public.

 

Is cannabis use legal in Great Britain?

 

The short answer is: no. Cannabis is a class b drug, and being caught in possession of it can see individuals fined or even taken to court. Growing and selling the drug has even more serious penalties, including hefty fines and imprisonment.

 

Some confusion about the drug’s use in the UK has arisen, however, mainly due to the legalisation and regulation of medical marijuana products throughout the country. These can only be obtained through prescription, and are usually offered to individuals with epilepsy or chronic pain as an alternative treatment. In such cases use is legal, owing to its regulation and acknowledgement of the law.

 

This confusion continues with the differing ways in which use of the drug is punished throughout the country. Many police forces have met calls for tolerance and compassion regarding prosecution for the offence with varying methods. Dee Collins, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police told The Times:

 

“We don’t decriminalise it. What we do is deal with the lower level offences such as possession of a very small amount with a street caution or an outcome that doesn’t necessarily involve going through the court process.”

 

Mike Barton, Chief Constable of Durham Police has openly criticised his senior colleagues for failing to speak out on the issue. He backs a welfare-first approach to drug use within his jurisdiction, which often involves cautioning rather than charging young minor offenders to minimise the damage caused by a criminal record.

 

Former minister for health and current Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb has been involved in discussions around cannabis’ legal status for many years. He said:

 

“What we are witnessing is a de facto drift towards decriminalisation but without any debate, without any role of government, without national oversight… You might end up with a criminal record in one part of the country but not in another.”

 

So, no, cannabis is not legal in the UK, nor is it being legalised for recreational use any time in the near future. However, how offenders are dealt with when caught may vary.

 

According to the Home Office: “The police have a range of powers at their disposal to deal with drug-related offences in a way that is proportionate to the circumstances of the offender and the public interest.”

 

“How police choose to pursue investigations is an operational decision for chief constables but we are clear that we expect them to enforce the law.”

 

 

 

Britain Dragging its Feet on Equal Pay for Women

This entry was posted in Business Law, Employment Law, For you, News and tagged , , , on by .

In a recent report on the gender pay gap around the world, Britain has come out at just number 13, lagging way behind Scandinavian countries Iceland and Sweden who topped the list along with New Zealand.

Luxembourg and Poland have shown the largest improvements and progress for women in work.

Also scoring low in the Women In Work Index by PriceWaterhouseCooper was the USA, Spain and Germany – with Portugal, Austria and the United States experiencing the greatest fall in rankings on the Index over the period since 2000.

According to Bloomberg, Britain’s gender pay gap remains a key drag on progress. According to the PWC Index, should the UK raise its game and achieve Swedish levels of equal employment for women, the country would see a 9% increase in GDP – equating to $257 billion.

Effective Action

The PWC Women In Work Index isn’t simply an exercise in one-upmanship. This index is collated from data collected annually to help businesses around the world make changes to their strategies and policies in order to develop more equality within the workplace.

At DRN we offer bespoke services to support and defend individuals who may be experiencing sexism, discrimination or inequality at work. We believe that in 2019 there is no reason for a business to have to undergo such an ordeal. If the right policies are incorporated in the first place, equal pay and equal opportunities for progression and board room visibility are offered right from the start.

PriceWaterhouseCooper have developed some ideas to help businesses make equality a priority. These five “foundations for a gender-equal workplace” show that making small changes can be simple and incredibly effective.

Foundation 1: Align Diversity and Strategy

Set out how diversity and inclusion supports your business priorities and ensure your strategy reaches beyond your workforce to include customers, suppliers, investors and wider society.

Foundation 2: Use Data

Use data to diagnose potential areas for focus, set targets and measure progress. Workforce surveys, tracking the career paths of high potential individuals, and exit surveys can help gauge why talent is leaving. “What gets measured gets done”

Foundation 3: Drive accountability from the top

Ensure someone within the leadership team is accountable for improving diversity and inclusion and this responsibility is cascaded throughout the organisation.

Foundation 4: Be honest

Focus on addressing shortcomings, as well as celebrating achievements, and set out plans for accelerating progress to show that you are committed to addressing diversity and inclusion challenges.

Foundation 5: Set realistic objectives and a plan to achieve them

Set measurable goals, decide how they will be achieved and assign business leaders who are accountable for meeting these goals.

Our corporate lawyers are highly experienced in diversity and equality law, and can help and support you with reinforcing or re-draughting your corporate policies. If you would like to speak to one of our professional corporate solicitors about equality in the workplace, equal pay or any other business law matter, please contact our friendly team on 01282 433 241.

DRN Sponsors Burnley Fan’s Marathon Season of Charity Runs

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45 year-old Burnley fan and ultra-marathon runner Scott Cunliffe has spent the whole 2018/19 Premier League season running to every away game – and he intends to run from Turf Moor to all 19 Burnley FC away game locations before the end of the season.

Burnley FC in the Community

Scott’s RunAway challenge has already raised more than £16,200 for local charity Burnley FC in the Community, and has so far seen him complete 16 runs covering an incredible 2550 miles. His 17th leg is sponsored by DRN, and will take him from Burnley to AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

To cover the huge distance in time for the game, Scott set off on Thursday March 28th and will run for a total of 10 days, racking up more than 250 miles in total when he arrives on the 6th of April.

DRN’s Sponsorship

DRN’s support and sponsorship on this 17th leg of his challenge will cover Scott’s accommodation and food along the route to Bournemouth. This will keep him focused on the road ahead so he can continue raising money for his chosen charities – Burnley FC in the Community and the charitable foundations of the other 19 Premier League clubs he’ll be visiting.

Support

Donations to support Scott’s chosen charities can be made on The RunAway Challenge Just Giving page:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/therunawaychallenge

Director of DRN David Lawson said:

“Scott is doing something amazing for a well-loved local charity and we are extremely happy to be able to support him on his journey. Scott and I have known each other since we went to Park Hill school together, and it is brilliant to see how much of his challenge he has achieved (smashed?) so far. Good luck from everyone at DRN!”

Keep up-to-date with Scott’s progress by following him on social media:

Facebook: Scott Cunliffe https://www.facebook.com/sekott

Facebook page: Runaway201819 https://www.facebook.com/Runaway201819

Twitter: @sekott (http://www.twitter.com/sekott

Instagram: @sekott (http://www.instagram.com/sekott)

Police Intend to Charge Former Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn

This entry was posted in Business Law and tagged , , , on by .

U.S. regulators have confirmed they intend to charge Volkswagen, former CEO Martin Winterkorn, with defrauding investors during emissions scandal. This may have implications in the U.K and is not as uncommon as one may think. 

DRN’s regulatory solicitors can assist if you or your business, are facing an investigation or prosecution. At DRN, we have experience of representing commercial clients and individuals during the investigation stage and proceedings.

David Lawson explains “if you or your company has been notified of an investigation, then instruct us early. We can advise you of the procedure, assist you in preparing at each stage and communicate with the regulators directly on your behalf. We are able to accept instructions across England and Wales.”

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact a member of our criminal department at 01282 433 241

Mobile Phones – Forensic Science Units No Longer Adequate

This entry was posted in Recent Case and tagged , , , , on by .

Mobile phones and electronic devices are not only more prevalent in society, but are now crucial to a number of cases coming before the criminal courts.

Keith Rennison explains “A report by Gillian Tully, the government-appointed regulator, states that police forensic science units no longer have the resources to deliver services to the required standards. There are simply too many cases involving phones and each smart phone can provide, in certain cases, upto 250,000 pages of evidence. At DRN, we are not completely reliant on the police. We can instruct our own independent experts to bypass the finite resources of the police and investigate our own priorities such as text messages, photographs, location, emails etc.”

Nick Cassidy continues “We have recently conducted two cases at opposite ends of the severity spectrum, where telephone evidence was crucial. The first one, on conviction, could have attracted a sentence of many years. Our client was adamant that his mobile phone had evidence on it, that would not only confirm his account but discredit prosecution witnesses. We obtained funding, had the phone examined and ultimately persuaded the Crown Prosecution Service to discontinue the case.”

“The second case was a driving matter where the loss of his licence would have rendered our client unemployed. We were able to locate the client’s whereabouts over a five hour period to discount the prosecution version of events. Again the Crown Prosecution Service were happy to consider the further evidence and an alternative plea was offered and accepted.”

If you need assistance please do not hesitate to contact a member of our criminal team.

Acquittal In The Case of R v V. V – Alleged Commercial Scale Cannabis Growing Operation.

This entry was posted in Crime, Recent Case on by .

Mr Peter Warne of Lincoln House Chambers, Nick Cassidy and Rebecca Greenwood of DRN Solicitors have secured an acquittal in the case of R v V. V was charged with others in relation to an alleged commercial scale cannabis growing operation. The case involved sophisticated farming methods, substantial telephone evidence and issues relating to the Modern Slavery Act.

You can contact a member of our Criminal Department on 01282 433241 or alternatively contact Nick Cassidy at nc@drnlaw.co.uk.

I Have Been Asked To Attend The Police Station For A Voluntary Interview – What Is A Voluntary Iv?

This entry was posted in Crime, For you and tagged on by .

In recent years, the police have decided in many cases to interview someone suspected of committing a crime to attend the police station voluntarily, rather than arrest.

This may be because it is thought that it’s not necessary to arrest. If arrested, you can be detained for several hours and are not free to leave at any time.

A volunteer, however, is not under arrest and is therefore not placed under detention. Quite often a voluntary interview takes place after the police officer has called around to your house or left a note asking you to attend the police station for interview. 

If this occurs DO NOT attend without a solicitor. DO NOT be fooled into thinking that the police simply want to have a chat. A voluntary interview is the same as an interview under arrest. Furthermore, anything said or not could ultimately affect what happens at court, if a decision is taken to prosecute.

The fact that a voluntary interview is being requested does not mean that the matter is not serious. Indeed, it is not uncommon for interviews to take place on a voluntary basis for offences such as Drug Conspiracies, Serious Sexual Allegations, Fraud and Assault. 

Following the interview, you will be told that the facts will be reported. Thereafter the crown prosecution service will make a decision. Quite often a summons or postal requisition will follow.

It is always important to have help and support. Our solicitors provide legal advice and assistance which is FREE of charge for anyone attending the police station for interview.

Therefore if asked to attend the police station for interview; please contact a member of our crime team, who are available to attend the police station, 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week.

Please email the following information to info@drnlaw.co.uk:

Name;

DOB;

Tel Number;

Date of Interview;

Officer Dealing / Name / Number;

Allegation;

A member of our team will then contact you without delay or alternatively ring our office on 01282 433 241 and ask for the criminal department.

What does the term ‘abuse of process’ actually mean?

This entry was posted in Abuse Claims on by .

At DRN Solicitors, we are often contacted by disgruntled defendant’s indicating that a decision to prosecute them is wrong and ‘an abuse of process.’ What does the term ‘abuse of process’ actually mean?

The basic principle is that it is for the prosecution, not the court, to decide whether a prosecution should be commenced and then once started, to continue. The courts however have an overriding duty to promote justice and prevent injustice. From this duty there arises an inherent power to ‘stay’ an indictment (or stop a prosecution in the magistrates’ courts) if the court is of the opinion that to allow the prosecution to continue would amount to an abuse of the process of the court. Abuse of process has been defined as something so unfair and wrong with the prosecution that the court should not allow a prosecutor to proceed with what is, in all other respects, a perfectly supportable case. ‘Unfair and wrong’ is for the court to determine on the individual facts of each case. The concept of a fair trial involves fairness to the prosecution and to the public as well as to the defendant.

If you feel that a decision to prosecute you is so unfair and wrong that the court should not allow the prosecution to proceed, contact one of our criminal law experts on 01282 433241.

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