A prisoner was given permission to seek a declaration that the period of appointment and tenure provisions for Parole Board members failed the test of objective independence. It was not acceptable for the Secretary of State for Justice to pressurise the Board’s chair to resign because he was dissatisfied with the chair’s conduct; that breached the principle of judicial independence.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
A sentence of 13 months’ imprisonment for contempt was imposed on a quantitative analyst who had misappropriated his employer’s confidential information with a view to using those in China and had failed to disclose the copies of the confidential information he had made and its whereabouts. The defendant had made no attempt to purge his contempt since being found in contempt five months earlier, and he had also failed to disclose the confidential information in breach of a Serious Crime Prevention Order.
In the context of a mother’s application to commit her children’s father to prison for making false statements of truth and breaching court orders in connection with securing the return of the children from Nigeria, the court considered that transcripts of conversations between the father and another man, which took place whilst the father was serving a prison sentence, were admissible. Although the transcripts had been improperly obtained, their provision had been a mistake rather than a deliberate act.
Although the default term of imprisonment imposed in respect of a confiscation order did not stand alone and was closely linked to the confiscation order, they were distinct orders and the Court of Appeal did not have jurisdiction to hear a prosecution appeal against the default term.
A magistrates’ court which purported to exercise its power under the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reverse a previous decision to admit bad character evidence had erred because that section was only available in the case of an offender and not where a person was charged with an offence. The Administrative Court had jurisdiction to deal with such a matter while criminal proceedings were ongoing, but the instant decision should not be taken as encouragement to challenge interlocutory decisions in criminal proceedings by judicial review.