The Top 50 Cases of 2019

R v Abdurahman (Ismail) [2020] 1 Cr App R 27

“The case concerned the conviction of a man, who had provided assistance to one of those responsible for the London bombings in July 2005 in an attempt to help him evade justice, and the status to be accorded by the Court of Appeal to a finding by the European Court of Human Rights that there had been a violation of the defendant’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the Convention...”

ACL Netherlands BV v Lynch [2019] EWHC 249 (Ch)

“The case arose from a corporate takeover by the America computer giant, Hewlett Packard, and concerned the circumstances in which the English court will permit a litigant to use documents obtained in civil proceedings for the purpose of parallel criminal proceedings, specifically in this case by disclosing them to the FBI pursuant to a Grand Jury subpoena ...”

Akinyemi v Home Secretary [2020] 1 WLR 1843

“The case was concerned with the operation of the foreign criminal provisions under the deportation regime and focused, in particular, on how the so-called ‘public interest question’ (namely whether an interference with the deportee’s right to respect for private life and family life is justified under Article 8(2) of the ECHR) is to be approached when the individual in question, though not a British citizen, was born here or has lived here for most or all of his life and has never visited the country to which he is to be deported …”

R v Ali (Arie) [2020] 1 Cr App R 21

“The case was concerned with people smuggling across the English Channel and prompted the court to consider the difference between the mental element required to prove the substantive offence of assisting illegal immigration by non-EU nationals and a conspiracy to commit that offence ...”

R v Ali (Khalid Mohamed Omar) [2020] 1 Cr App R 1

“The case arose from the trial of a man who had been involved in the production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan in 2012, for use against the Coalition forces there, and who had been apprehended when he was on the point of committing a major terrorist atrocity close to Downing Street in 2017. It prompted the court to consider the validity of so-called ‘notification’ hearings, where the prosecution see the judge in the absence of the defence, not for the purpose of asserting public interest immunity but in order to prevent inadvertent mis-management of the case ...”

R v Allen (Leslie) [2019] EWCA Crim 1256

“The case concerned the provisions in Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which, where jury tampering has taken place, allow a trial on indictment to continue before a judge alone, with the judge deciding the guilt or innocence of the defendant ...”

R v Alstom Network UK Ltd [2019] Lloyd’s Rep FC 45

“The case involved a prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office of a company for conspiring to bribe foreign public officials and it raised the question whether the trial of a corporate defendant was fair where the individuals who were its 'Directing Minds and Will’ (DMWs) were neither charged nor otherwise present at the trial ...” ADDED Friday 4th December 2020

CPS v Aquila Advisory Limited [2019] Lloyd’s Rep FC 358

“The case was concerned with whether the Crown Prosecution Service had a claim under a criminal confiscation order which it could enforce against the identified proceeds of a fraud in priority to the proprietary claim of the company whose directors were the chief engineers of that fraud ...” ADDED Monday 14th December 2020

R (Bahbahani) v Ealing Magistrates’ Court [2019] 3 WLR 901

“The case was concerned with the jurisdictional consequences of a failure by magistrates to follow the plea and mode of trial procedure and also with the circumstances in which the Administrative Court may make an award under the civil costs regime in a criminal cause or matter ...” ADDED Monday 21st December 2020

BBC v Secretary of State for Transport [2019] 4 WLR 23

“The case was concerned with the balance between, on the one hand, the public interest in open justice and, on the other hand, the countervailing interest in maintaining confidentiality in certain types of sensitive material (in this instance materials obtained in the course of an air accident investigation) ...” ADDED Wednesday 9th December 2020

BBC v Secretary of State for Transport (Costs) [2019] 4 WLR 24

“The case addresses the approach the court should take to the award of costs where interested parties attend and make submissions to the court on the balance to be struck between legitimate but competing public interests ...” ADDED Thursday 10th December 2020

R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2020] 1 Cr App R 3

“The case was concerned with the development of Automatic Facial Recognition technology for the prevention and detection of crime and the court reviewed, specifically, the adequacy of the current legal framework. The judicial review claim focused on certain AFR deployments in the course of a pilot project which commenced in mid-2017. It prompted the Divisional Court to consider the police’s common law powers as well as the right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention, the data protection legislation and the public sector equality requirement ...” ADDED Monday 25th January 2021

R (British Broadcasting Corporation) v Newcastle Crown Court [2020] 1 Cr App R 16

“The BBC applied for judicial review of a production order, relating to a journalist’s written note of a pre-broadcast interview conducted with an alleged victim of sexual abuse, prior to him being interviewed live by Victoria Derbyshire on her flagship programme. The central issue was whether material obtained by way of a PACE production order must be likely to be immediately admissible in evidence, i.e. admissible on its face and without more, rather than just contingently admissible: subject to the occurrence of later events after it has been obtained, in particular, developments in the course of a trial ...” ADDED Friday 15th January 2021

R v Bush & Scouler [2019] Lloyd’s Rep FC 210

“This was a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office against a number of senior executives of Tesco Stores Ltd, alleging fraud by abuse of position and false accounting. The parent company, Tesco Plc, had in earlier proceedings, which concluded in April 2017, entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, requiring it to pay a financial penalty of just under £129 million ...” ADDED Tuesday 22nd December 2020

R v C(B) [2019] 2 Cr App R 11

“The case concerned the admissibility in evidence of a suicide note and an Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) interview under the hearsay provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and, separately, the refusal to discharge a jury following the inadvertent admission of inadmissible and potentially prejudicial material ...” ADDED Wednesday 23rd December

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism v DPP [2019] EWHC 9 (Admin)

“The court had to consider the balance between freedom of expression and the need to maintain public order, and to determine whether the DPP had acted irrationally in taking over and discontinuing a private prosecution on the grounds that particular words were not ‘abusive’ for the purposes of section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 ...”

R v Challen [2019] EWCA Crim 916

“The case was concerned with developments in our understanding of coercive control in abusive relationships and, when combined with a diagnosis of mental disorder, the potential impact on the partial defences of provocation and diminished responsibility ...”

R v Cheeseman (Steven) [2019] 1 Cr App R 34

“The appeal was concerned with the so-called ‘householder defence’, where the occupier of a dwelling or of forces accommodation seeks to avail himself of the statutory provisions which, in effect, allow householders greater latitude regarding the degree of force that can be used in self-defence ...” ADDED Tuesday 8th December 2020

R (Cleeland) v CCRC [2019] EWHC 1175 (Admin)

“The case was concerned both with the approach the Criminal Cases Review Commission should take when deciding whether to refer a case to the Court of Appeal and also the approach the Administrative Court should take when considering a challenge to a refusal by the CCRC to refer a case ...” ADDED Thursday 24th December 2020

R v D [2019] 2 Cr App R 15

“The case made clear that, where a defendant is charged with fraud by failing to disclose information, it must be shown that he or she was indeed under a legal duty to disclose the information in question ...” ADDED Monday 4th January 2021

Health and Safety Executive v Faltec Europe Ltd [2019] 4 WLR 77

“The case considered the principles to be applied when sentencing a corporation for major health and safety breaches and also included guidance as to the length of skeleton arguments in criminal appeals ...” ADDED Friday 8th January 2021

“The appeal was concerned with the correct approach to the determination of benefit for the purposes of making a confiscation order against a defendant convicted of laundering the proceeds of a major revenue fraud ...” ADDED Thursday 3rd December 2020

Re Finucane’s Application for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2019] 3 All ER 191

“The case was concerned with whether either the European Convention on Human Rights or the doctrine of legitimate expectation required HM Government to investigate State collusion in Loyalist murders during ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland ...” ADDED Tuesday 1st December 2020

R v Gillings (Keith) [2020] 2 Cr App R 8

“The case concerned the approach to be taken to prosecution applications to adduce a defendant’s convictions, where those convictions are very old but where it is nevertheless said that they demonstrate propensity. The court considered the respective roles of the judge and the jury in relation to bad character evidence of this sort, emphasising the two-stage assessment by the judge of capacity to demonstrate propensity and of likely prejudice. And their Lordships also took the opportunity to reiterate the guidance recently given by the Court of Appeal about the content of sentencing remarks …” ADDED Wednesday 20th January 2021

R v Haque (Mohammed) [2020] 1 WLR 2239

“The case concerned the true construction of the provisions within Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 that create the money laundering offences. In particular, it focused on the point at which property becomes criminal property for the purpose of the different types of prohibited dealing there set out. It is fair to say that the appeal rested on a technicality and bore no relation to the merits of the case but, as the court itself recognised, that is no bar to a successful appeal if the point is sound …” ADDED Monday 18th January 2021

Hilson v CPS [2019] EWHC 1110 (Admin)

“The case was concerned, generally, with what conduct is capable of amounting to harassment and, more specifically, with whether unsolicited emails can be harassment and whether putting private information into the public domain on social media forfeits any protection from harassment by use of that information; and also addressed the situation where a course of conduct is deliberately designed to prejudice the proper administration of justice by a judge or the performance of his or her duties by a public official ...”

R (Islam) v Home Secretary [2019] EWHC 2169 (Admin)

“The case concerned the lawfulness of the Home Secretary’s decision to remove the citizenship of a British national who had travelled to Syria to join ISIL and whether she was under an obligation to repatriate to the United Kingdom British citizens who, having joined ISIL, had subsequently surrendered and were held in custody there ...”

R (Johnson) v Westminster Magistrates Court [2020] 2 All ER 271

“The Divisional Court handed down judgment in an application for judicial review brought by Boris Johnson against the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The subject matter of the proceedings dated back to the European Union referendum campaign in 2016 …” ADDED Wednesday 2nd December 2020

R (Baroness Jones) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [2020] 1 WLR 519

“The case was concerned with the lawfulness of one element of the Metropolitan Police’s response to the Extinction Rebellion protests in Central London in October 2019 ...”

R v KK [2020] 1 Cr App R 29

“The case brought into sharp focus once again the extent to which our system of jury trial depends on the members of the jury, individually and collectively, to comply with their oaths and affirmations, to follow the legal directions of the trial judge and above all, to try cases only on the evidence. It is a pretty stark reminder, if one were needed, of the ever-present risk that individual jurors may conduct their own inquiries and researches, especially online. It provides helpful practical guidance, in the event of a breach, as to how trial judges can go about putting the genie back into the bottle. And it should also serve as a salutary warning to jurors and prospective jurors about the life-changing consequences they face if they fall prey to temptation and flout the rules prohibiting internet research …” ADDED Thursday 14th January 2021

R v Kuddus [2019] 2 Cr App R 16

“The case was concerned with the law of gross negligence manslaughter and, specifically, the requirement that an alleged breach of duty must have given rise to a serious and obvious risk of death ...” ADDED Friday 11th December 2020

R (Kumar) v Home Secretary [2019] 4 WLR 47

“The court had to consider the lawfulness of the Justice Secretary’s policy on when it is permissible for him to decline to follow a Parole Board recommendation that a prisoner be moved to an open prison ...” ADDED Tuesday 29th December 2020

R v LT [2019] 1 Cr App R 30

“The case was concerned with identification through social media ...” ADDED Tuesday 15th December 2020

R v Melin (Ozan) [2019] QB 1063

“The case was concerned with whether deception as to a person’s status as a doctor is capable of vitiating consent to a medical procedure, so as to make it an assault ...” ADDED Thursday 17th December 2020

R v Montaut [2020] 2 Cr App R (S) 7

“The case concerned the approach that a sentencing judge should take when contemplating passing a sentence of imprisonment just above the two-year threshold, below which such a sentence could, in principle, be suspended ...”

R v O; R v N [2019] EWCA Crim 752

“The judgment provides a helpful illustration of both the principles to be applied and the practical arrangements to be made by the Court of Appeal where a convicted defendant claims to have been a victim of human trafficking and seeks, in effect, a retrospective review of the decision to prosecute ...”

Ozbek v Turkey [2019] EWHC 3670 (Admin)

“The case concerned an extradition appeal in which there were allegations of human rights abuses in Turkish prisons and illustrated the approach taken to assurances from a requesting state and the admission of fresh evidence on appeal …”

R v Panayi (Andrew) [2019] 2 Cr App R (S) 21

“The case related to confiscation proceedings following conviction for breach of a planning enforcement notice and is a salutary reminder of the importance of drafting charges so as to reflect the full extent of the criminality alleged ...” ADDED Thursday 31st December 2020

R v PY [2019] 1 Cr App R 22

“The case was concerned with the form in which the prosecution has to inform the Crown Court of the various preliminary matters which are required of it before it can launch an interlocutory appeal against a terminating ruling - specifically whether the prosecution is required to inform the court of those matters in open court ...”

R v Rashid (Hafedh) [2019] EWCA Crim 2018

“The case concerned the correct approach to be taken by a trial judge to bad character evidence from a police officer with expertise regarding the membership of gangs with pro-firearm and anti-police tendencies, including through the interpretation of music lyrics ...”

R v Shepherd (Jack) [2019] 2 Cr App R 26

“The appeal concerned the stage of a criminal investigation at which the obligation arises to caution a person being spoken to by the police and to advise that person of their right to legal advice etc ...” ADDED Wednesday 16th December 2020

Shepherd v Information Commissioner [2019] 1 Cr App R 29

“The case was concerned with reverse burdens of proof in the context of the Data Protection Acts of 1998 and 2018 …”

Thakrar v CPS [2020] 1 All ER 704

“The case was concerned with what constitutes a ‘criminal cause or matter’; the route of appeal from a decision of the High Court in relation to such a cause or matter; and the practical arrangements in the Administrative Court for dealing with such cases ...”

R v Toner (Peter) [2019] 2 Cr App R 2

“The case explains the practical effect of a relatively recent change in the legislative provisions governing the joinder and severance of counts in an indictment ...” ADDED Wednesday 30th December 2020

R v TRA (Redress Intervening) [2020] 3 All ER 177

“The case was concerned with the definition of ‘torture’ under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the distinctions to be drawn, firstly, between governmental activity and military activity and, secondly, between the actual exercise of governmental functions as distinct from the purported exercise of such functions. It also prompted consideration by the Supreme Court of the principles of interpretation of international treaties ...”

Venables v News Group Newspapers [2019] 2 FLR 814

“The proceedings concerned the continuation of an anonymity order protecting the current identity and whereabouts of two notorious child killers ...”

Volaw Trust & Corporate Services Ltd v Jersey Comptroller of Taxes [2019] STC 2066

“The case was concerned with a series of notices served by the authorities in Jersey on a trust company there, relating to investigations being conducted both in Norway and, latterly, in Jersey into the tax affairs of a Norwegian national through a complex web of companies and trusts based in various offshore tax havens. It prompted the Privy Council to consider the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on the scope and effect of the privilege against self-incrimination as it applies under Article 6 of the Convention …”

R v Woodward (Connor) [2019] 2 Cr App R 28

“The case was concerned with the situation where there have been lengthy separations of the jury after they have retired to consider their verdicts ...” ADDED Friday 18th December 2020

Attorney General v Yaxley-Lennon (Stephen) [2020] 3 All ER 477

“The case was concerned with live streaming by a man known as Tommy Robinson, the co-founder and former leader of the English Defence League, from outside the trial of a sex grooming ring. The court had to consider the law of contempt in relation to the reporting of proceedings, the harassment of persons attending court and photography within the precincts of the court building ... ADDED Monday 7th December 2020