In this issue
Welcome
Expert Evidence in Fraud Trials and the new Practice Direction 33A
Search Warrants: Are They Looking For You?
Bribery: Developments in 2014
The Pitfalls for Private Prosecutors
A Criminal Lifestyle Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas: POCA proceedings following R v Chahal
Getting It Right First Time: SFO v Evans
Appeals Bulletin to be launched at end of January
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Feature Articles
Expert Evidence in Fraud Trials and the new Practice Direction 33A

Identifying an individual who can be relied on to give truly expert evidence of a quality worthy of the name can be a difficult task.  There are many who claim expertise and seek instructions from lawyers, only for their evidence to be found wanting at a later stage of proceedings, sometimes at a fatally late stage.  Adrian Waterman QC suggests that practioners should, therefore, welcome the introduction of Criminal Practice Direction 33A, either as a benchmark against which to judge their own expert or, perhaps more helpfully, use it as a tool to challenge the evidence of a so-called expert acting for their opponents.   

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Search Warrants: Are They Looking For You?

Clients and, indeed, their solicitors, accountants or other professional advisers may on occasion find themselves hosting an unexpected and no doubt unwelcome visit from HMRC, the police, or another investigating authority.  They my be seeking to conduct a search under the authority of a warrant.  Those warrants can, however, be successfully challenged by way of judicial review, and as Rupert Bowers notes an increasing number of clients are seeking to explore this option.  In this article he sets out some of the law arising from recent decisions, which should encourage clients and their advisers to give serious consideration to mounting such a challenge.

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Bribery: Developments in 2014

Despite an increase in bribery and corruption investigations both in the UK and overseas, the Bribery Act 2010 remains relatively untested in our courts.  But following the conviction of Gary West and Stuart Stone on 5th December 2014, in a case brought by the SFO which included allegations of bribery, it may be that the criminal courts will be hearing a greater number of similar cases as large investigations come to a conclusion.  Nichola Higgins looks at some developments over the last twelve months.  

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The Pitfalls for Private Prosecutors

Private Prosecutions are back in fashion, but despite some of them coming to a successful conclusion, difficulties remain in getting one off the ground. Having recently defended in a private prosecution, James Wood QC outlines some of the challenges faced by those who choose to pursue such a course of action, and outlines some pitfalls which should be highlighted by those advising clients who are considering going down this route.

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A Criminal Lifestyle Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas: POCA proceedings following R v Chahal

In cases where there is the possibility of future related proceedings, and armed with the draconian provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act, many prosecutors seem emboldened by the thought of getting a second bite of the cherry of a defendant's assets. Understandably clients are concerned about the impact of confiscation.  In cases involving argument on criminal lifestyle, the recent case of Chahal (in which the benefit figure of £196m alleged by the Crown was argued down to £107,000) should provide some comfort. Richard Fisher, who appeared for Mr Chahal in the confiscation and Court of Appeal proceedings, discusses the decision.

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Getting It Right First Time: SFO v Evans

David Bentley QC looks at the recent SFO case of Evans in which the High Court was asked to re-instate proceedings by allowing a relatively unusual application for the preferring of a voluntary bill of indictment. He outlines the main point for those defending in fraud proceedings - get the prosecution to nail their colours firmly to the mast, and ensure your client is not prejudiced by a lackadaisical prosecutor failing to set out the Crown's case in clear terms.

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In Other News...
Appeals Bulletin to be launched at end of January

In addition to this Business Crime Bulletin, Doughty Street Chambers will also be launching a new Appeals Bulletin at the end of January.  Co-ordinated by Paul Taylor (Editor of OUP's leading practitioner textbook, Taylor on Criminal Appeals), it will highlight some of the most important decisions emerging from the Court of Appeal, including cases involving financial crime, and provide practical assistance on how to use those judgments for the benefit of clients.

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