Criminal Law Update, series 1: issue 1

30 May 2005

This update is to draw your attention to another two pieces of legislation that affect criminal law. These are of course in addition to the CJA 2003 with which are slowly becoming a bit more knowledgeable and the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which was covered in our Criminal law update 14/12/2004.


The first is the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. This is extensively digested in Criminal Law Week at CLW 05/14/12 (for those who don’t get CLW (i.) you should and (ii.) the figure 05 is the year, 14 is the issue and 12 is the relevant paragraph.) and comes with a wholly justified tirade by the editor (Richardson) about “the orgy of criminal legislation” we are all having to cope with.

There are amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (ss.97 to 109) and some important amendments to powers of arrest under PACE 1984 section 24 of which is heavily amended and s. 25 (general arrest conditions) is abolished. The police are given powers to direct a person to leave a specific area (s.112) and ss. 116 to 119 amended the law relating to the taking by police of photographs of suspects, fingerprint and footwear impressions and intimate samples. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is amended to provide new offences and there are amendments regarding ASBOs in ss.139 to 143. Sections 145 to 149 create new offences involving activities by those opposed to the animal research.

The Drugs Act 2005 (see CLW 05/15/14) provides for offences of supplying drugs to be aggravated if committed ‘in the vicinity of school premises’ or through the use of those aged under 18 as couriers (s.1) as well as for assumptions to be made as to the intent to supply from the amount of the drug found on the accused on arrest (s.2). Again there are changes to police powers in respect of searches with adverse inferences for those who unreasonably refuse their consent (s.3).

No Commencement Orders have yet been made under either Act and none of the above provisions are therefore yet in force. We can no doubt expect particularly with the Serious Organised Crime Act that commencement will be in the usual hotchpotch manner which makes it hard to follow what has in fact been brought into effect.

On the theme of commencement the first order under the Domestic Violence Act has been made – see CLW 05/11/36. This brings into force on 21st March 2005 ss. 5 to 8 which create new offences in respect of violence to children and on 31st March s.11 (common assault as an alternative verdict) and the new law on the procedure

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