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Showing posts from August, 2012

Apple v Samsung round 2

I have just read an interview on the BBC news website that makes me think an appeal could be coming from Samsung against the jury finding that they infringed Apple's patent.

In England and Wales, we do not have juries for patent disputes any more.  Nowadays juries are used only in criminal and coroners courts.  When a jury does sit in a criminal court it is illegal for the press to report on the deliberations of the jury.  In fact nobody should even be asking any jury member what was discussed in the retiring room let alone reporting it.  Now, I know things are different abroad, which is interesting because you get to hear how juries reached their conclusions and that is helpful to British lawyers, like me, who may want to adapt particular elements of their presentation where a trend appears to present itself.

In this country, juries take the law from the trial judge especially where a jury member has a different opinion on the law!  Lawyers, including judges, are now allowed to s…

Tactics

I was in the Crown Court yesterday for a case.  My client has two co-defendants.  The best I can say about the charges they face is that the prosecution lawyer who drew them up was being very imaginative at the time.  It seems to me that the Crown have no hope of succeeding as the indictment stands.

There is another charge that could be brought in place of the current very imaginative one.  If the Crown were to change charges then the defendants would suddenly struggle to win their trial; they still have a chance but its a much more close run thing.

My learned friends have also noticed this deficiency.  Much to my frustration, they have chosen to handle it by listing the case for a dismissal argument.  This is basically where you tell a judge that the prosecution case is hopeless and ask him to throw the case out of court without a trial.

A dismissal argument is all well and good, but all they have done is highlighted the problems with the current charge to the prosecutor and thus mad…

Pussy Riot

Let us for a moment imagine a scenario where a group of balaclava wearing individuals burst into St Paul's Cathedral and staged an impromptu foul mouthed protest against the British government in which the protesters sung (having seen the protest video I must say I use the word "sung" very loosely) an expletive filled re-write of the Lord's Prayer.

Would Pussy Riot have committed a criminal offence in the UK?  Yes, it is highly likely that they would be committing an offence under s. 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, which makes it an offence to intentionally "cause a person harassment, alarm or distress", by using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour".

Is storming a church and offending the people therein sufficient to make out the offence?  I don't know what the lyrics were, but the reports indicate that they were highly offensive.  Would that cause a group of nuns and priests distress?  Quite possibly…

Bully Boy Tactics

The TV and press are reporting that Ian Brady's lawyer has been arrested for preventing a lawful burial by not revealing the whereabouts of Keith Bennett, Brady and Myra Hindley's last undiscovered victim.

First, it would seem that the lady who has been arrested is not in fact a lawyer so I'm not going to harp on about breach of legal privilege etc.  Instead I wanted to tell a short story about a client I represented a few years ago.

There was a rugby match at Twickenham and I ended up representing every single fan who was arrested that day... all five of them.  They were picked up on a Public Order Act offence, the details of which are not relevant.  Four of the men were released but one was further arrested for murder and kept in police custody.

I met the murder squad detectives and was given disclosure along the lines of: There was a murder in 1995 [I can't recall the year, but it was a while ago].  We know your man didn't do it and wasn't involved, but we t…

Cycle safety

This morning I have been reading some extraordinary rubbish in The Times about the wearing of helmets by cyclists.

It is suggested that making helmets compulsory would reduce the number of people cycling.  This claim is based on evidence from Australia where there was about a 30% decrease in cycling when helmets were made compulsory.

But, let's think about it for a minute.  I am currently looking to buy a bicycle and while you can get some pretty rubbish bikes for around £100, anything remotely decent seems to start at around the £399 mark.  You can buy a helmet, which, should you fall off, will substantially increase your chances of survival, for just £9.99 from Halfords.  Whether you're spending £100 or £1,000 on a bike (and incidentally one of my local shops has a lot of bikes at over £5,000 each!) an extra £9.99 is not going to break the bank.  In any event, you'd imagine that if cycle shops were concerned about a serious loss of trade they'd start running promotio…