UK Politics

New CPS guidance on joint enterprise ‘fails to get to grips’ with problem

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap. New Crown Prosecution Service guidance has ‘completely failed to get to grips’ with joint enterprise, according to campaigners representing prisoners and their families. Following the publication of new principles on how to deal with the controversial common law doctrine back in July, the CPS launched a consultation which closed last week. The campaign group JENGbA (Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association) has collated responses including submissions from 17 joint enterprise prisoners and calls on the director of public prosecutions to back their call for a public inquiry. Under joint enterprise, a person on the fringes of a group in which somebody commits murder can receive the same mandatory life sentence as the perpetrator. In February 2016 in the landmark Jogee ruling, the Supreme Court held that the law had taken ‘a wrong turn in 1984‘. The judgment did not end joint enterprise – and the first tranche …

Freedom – or Freefall?

This piece was originally published as a blog post by René Cassin.   Imagine that everything is taken away from you. Forget your job. Forget your income, too. You have no home and no family you know how to contact. Imagine that you have 45 days to rebuild. And the clock is ticking. For former slaves, this isn’t merely a thought experiment. Last year, over 3,800 people went through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for victims of modern slavery. The government offered each of them just over six weeks of support in a safe house before cutting them loose. This is the cruel reality of the UK’s current modern slavery strategy. During those 45 days of what the government calls ‘reflection and recovery’, a victim’s first task is to prove that they are indeed a victim of slavery or human trafficking. If they can’t or don’t, the clock ticks faster: they have …

‘Deport first, appeal later’ policy breaches human rights

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   The system of deporting foreign criminals before they have had a chance to appeal was in breach of their human rights, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court unanimously allowed the appeals in the cases of two foreign nationals who claimed that deportation would breach their right to private and family life. Kevin Kiarie, from Kenya, and Courtney Byndloss, from Jamaica, had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Both have longstanding family ties in Britain. In his judgment, released today, Lord Wilson concluded that the risk to public safety was ‘outweighed’ by the argument that ‘when we are afforded a right of appeal, our appeal should be effective.’ The home secretary, in other words, failed to prove that deportation in advance of an appeal ‘strikes a fair balance between the rights of the appellants and the interests of …