At a trial for conspiracy to defraud by dishonestly making a false representation, it had not been necessary for a judge to exclude under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.78 evidence of a co-accused’s guilty plea that had been admitted under s.74. Whilst the evidence raised difficulties for the defence on the issue of the genuineness of a purportedly forged will, it did not have a similar impact upon the other issues which the jury had to resolve and, overall, its introduction was not unfair.
The conviction of a Syrian refugee for possessing a false document (a passport) with improper intention was rendered unsafe by the fact that his guilty plea was equivocal and by counsel’s failure to properly advise him about the defence available to refugees in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 s.31.
A sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, imposed on an offender following his guilty plea to an offence of possessing heroin with intent to supply was unduly lenient. However, the court declined to interfere with the sentence given that the offender was making significant progress in combating his own drug addiction.
Where an offender had distributed an indecent photograph of a girl under the age of 18 contrary to the Protection of Children Act 1978 s.1(1)(b), but it was unclear if the girl was under 16, a notification requirement should not have been imposed on him. He had not been convicted of an offence listed within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 Sch.3, which was necessary to impose a notification requirement. There was a clear discrepancy between those provisions, and the court would have to be alive to that discrepancy when discharging its duty under the Criminal Procedure Rules and, if necessary, decide whether a child’s exact age could be resolved.
A total sentence of seven years and eight months’ detention was appropriate in the case of a young offender who had pleaded guilty to possessing Class B drugs, a sub-machine gun and compatible ammunition, having been pressured into holding them for a third party. Those who looked after lethal weapons for others had to expect severe sentences.