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Martin, Johnston & Socha Blog

Criminal Law news & updates from Martin, Johnstone & Socha's expert criminal defence solicitors.

Vulnerable Witnesses Bill proposed to the Scottish Parliament

A new Vulnerable Witnesses Bill has been proposed to the Scottish Parliament and, if accepted by the Parliament, the new legislation would enable the statements of child witnesses to be pre-recorded in advance of the trial. Most recently, the Faculty of Advocates responded to the bill, claiming they had ‘no opposition’ to the introduction of the rule.

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Sex offenders are the least likely to re-offend, according to new Scottish data

According to the Scottish Government’s statistical report on the criminal justice system, both the rate of reconviction and the average number of reconvictions per person have been slowly decreasing since 2003. The statistics are based on the data of people who were released from custody in 2015-16 or received a non-custodial sentence during that period.

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High-value fraud losses down by £2 million in one year

Businesses in Scotland suffered losses of £1.8 million in the first half of 2018 compared to losses of £3.8 million in the same period last year, according to new data from KPMG. The report, which measures alleged fraud cases with losses of £100,00 or more within the UK courts, shows that Scotland is doing more favourably compared to other UK regions where fraud losses are on the rise. 

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More funding available to prosecute sexual offences in Scotland

A recent BBC article reported that the prosecution service is to be given a cash injection of £1.1m by the Scottish Government, following an increase in the number of sexual offences reported in Scotland. The extra money, which will be given to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS), aims to improve communication between the prosecution service and alleged victims and minimise delays in sexual offence cases progressing to court.

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Criminal Justice Disability Project Report Published

Marking the conclusion of a landmark equality project in Scotland, the final report of the Criminal Justice Disability Project (CJDP) was published on 31 July 2018.

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EU Proposes Tougher Measures on Confiscation of Assets

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has adopted new rules to speed up the freezing and confiscation of criminal assets across the EU. 

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Fall in Reported Offensive Weapon-Related Crime

There has been a fall in the number of crimes involving the handling of offensive weapons over the last ten years in Scotland, according to a new report from the Scottish Government. 

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Views Sought on Vulnerable Witnesses Bill

A call for evidence has been launched over proposed new legislation that aims to provide vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime with a better experience of the criminal justice system in Scotland. 

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Survey Finds Lack of Awareness of Penalties for Illegal Mobile Phone Use

A new study by the RAC has found that more than a year on from the introduction of tougher penalties for using a handheld phone at the wheel, nearly two-thirds of drivers (64%) remain unaware what the consequences of breaking the 15 year-old law are. 

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Brexit Poses Challenges to Cross-Border Crime Co-operation

A new paper has highlighted the possible “complex and far-reaching” challenges that Scotland’s police and prosecutors could be presented with when tackling cross-border crime after Brexit.

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Hate Crime in Scotland

The Crown Office has published a report on Hate Crime, which reveals the level of crime recorded in 2017-18 relating to race crime, and on crime motivated by prejudice related to religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity.

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Warning Over Risks Associated With Acting as a Money Mule

Anti-fraud body Financial Fraud Action UK  has issued a warning on the risks associated with acting as a money mule for fraudsters after a 26-year-old man was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 280 hours of unpaid work.

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Rise in Violent and Sexual Crimes Reported in Scotland

According to figures published in The Scotsman, crime in Scotland is on the rise, with more violent and sexual offences reported to the authorities than last year. The data from Police Scotland shows a 1.7% rise in the total number of crimes committed from the beginning of April 2017 to the end of March 2018 compared with the same period in 2016/17.

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NCA Identifies Key Crime Threats Facing the UK

The National Crime Agency (NCA) recently published its National Strategic Assessment (NSA) for 2018, which contains an analysis of serious and organised crime threats facing the country.

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DNA Breakthrough to Aid Wildlife Crime Investigation

New research into retrieving human DNA found at the scene could be used to support wildlife crime investigations, even days after the incident has taken place, the Scottish Government has announced. 

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First Year Trainee Vacancy

We have a vacancy for a first year trainee in our Dunfermline office commencing summer 2018. If you wish to apply please email a copy of your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Research Reveals Rise in Road Traffic Offence Convictions

Interesting new research by IAM RoadSmart has revealed an increase in the number of convictions for road traffic offences in England and Wales over the past three years.

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Threat of Criminal Gangs in Scotland Increased

A National Crime Agency (NCA) report has found that criminal groups in central Scotland are contributing to “ongoing feuds, violence and firearms”. The National Strategic Assessment of Serious Organised Crime of 2018 found that 164 known organised crime groups (OCGs), which have over 3,000 members, are currently under investigation by police in Scotland. Despite the decrease in the number of offenders in the country, according to the NCA, the threat criminals pose is getting worse.

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Cyber Crime Website Shut Down Following International Operation

An international law enforcement operation, led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Dutch National Police, has led to the shutdown of a website linked to more than four million cyber attacks across the globe, including attacks targeting some of the UK’s biggest banks.

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Reports Reveal Continued Focus on Fraud Reduction

A recent report from the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) has given an interesting insight into the unit’s operations during 2017.

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