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Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

drug-drivingThe Christmas 2014 drink/drugs campaign is underway, and last week the Home Office finally authorised the use of roadside saliva tests, which have been used successfully in other parts of Europe.

These saliva tests can instantly detect drugs and ‘legal highs’, and will include prescription drugs, e.g. sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs etc. This is likely to affect many people.

Being caught driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs can result in the following:
1. A minimum driving ban of 12 months;
2. A financial penalty of up to £5,000;
3. A criminal record.

This is turn will affect insurance (an endorsement on your licence remains for 11 years), employment, and will certainly provide you with problems when trying to obtain a visa to visit certain parts of the world.

A specific new drug driving offence will soon be law, but this new procedure takes effect now.

With all new procedures, legal problems and issues will occur, which is why it is vital that you seek advice from experienced, specialist solicitors as soon as possible. These driving offence procedures happen quickly, so you in turn will need the best advice quickly. We operate a 24-hour emergency service; please call us on 0207 387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

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Confiscation Update – by Miles Herman

confiscationThe Court of Appeal recently handed down a judgment as to valuation of benefit for the purpose of confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the context of a drugs case Shearif Stephen Elsayed, Citation No. 2014 EWCA CRIM 333. The appeal was on the basis that the trial judge assessed the valuation of the drugs on a retail basis and the appellant argued that the judge was wrong and was obliged to value the drugs on a wholesale basis.

Both the prosecution and the defence agreed as to lifestyle provisions should apply in this case, but differed as to the valuation of the drugs. At the confiscation hearing the prosecution asked the Crown Court to put a street value on 169g of cocaine for a retail basis of £108,160. The prosecution put that sum forward as the street value of the relevant benefit amount estimating the value of each drug deal being £40.00

The appellant argued that the valuation of £108,160 was incorrect and that the true value of the drugs for confiscation purposes should be the wholesale value of £6,857.

The argument put forward was with a view to limiting the recoverable amount from the appellant.

In an interesting case, the appellant was arrested when the police recovered 169g of cocaine at 80% purity and a small wrap containing cocaine of 5% purity. The prosecution’s case was that the 169g would have been cut down to individual wraps of 5% purity and the appellant was sentenced on that basis.

The appellant argued that the judge was wrong on a finding of fact to apply a retail basis of the valuation as opposed to a wholesale basis.

Counsel argued that the 169g of cocaine as seized was at 80% purity and the value of the property it was said should be assessed at the time the appellant obtained it. Accordingly, it was the value of those drugs that was to be decided i.e. the wholesale value. It was wrong it was submitted for the judge to substitute the prospective retail street value which was based on speculation and therefore the emphasis was placed on what the appellant had obtained, not what he might thereafter obtain.

The prosecution responded that, whilst in confiscation proceedings drugs may frequently be valued on a wholesale basis, that all depends on the circumstances of the particular case and, on the facts submitted, the judge was entitled to adopt the retail valuation advanced by the prosecution.

In a total rejection of the appellant’s arguments the Court of Appeal stated the trial judge was entitled to find on the facts that he did.

Unsurprisingly, the court also made reference to the case of Waya in that the Confiscation Order made in this present case did not amount to a disproportionate outcome.

The conclusion reached in this case was that the valuation of benefit is essentially a fact driven exercise and therefore in like cases or cases of similar characteristics it is vital that practitioners and clients are aware of the arguments that can be advanced in terms of the benefit.

In confiscation cases it is necessary to consider how the prosecution reaches the benefit figures that they do and at Lewis Nedas Law we have expert lawyers who will challenge assertions made by the prosecution and advance arguments on behalf of clients facing Confiscation Orders in the Crown Court. We have an enviable success rate in getting the prosecution and the courts to revise initial figures of benefit particularly in fraud, drugs and money laundering cases.

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Legal News Updates from Our Criminal Solicitors: August 2012

The following are some useful legal news updates from August 2012 from our criminal solicitors. Contact us for specialist legal advice or representation on any of these areas.

House Prices in “Surprising Jump”

August 31, 2012

UK house prices jumped by a “surprising” 1.3% in August, according to the Nationwide building society. See the BBC’s article here.

 Squatting Becomes Criminal Act

August 31, 2012

A law making squatting in a residential building a criminal offence comes into force shortly, meaning squatters could face jail or a fine. See the BBC’s coverage of this story here.

Buying a House Tips: Raising a Deposit for a Mortgage

August 31, 2012

Click here to see the article in yesterday’s Telegraph containing a video guide to buying a home. Contact Richard McConnell if you are considering buying a new home.

“Generation Rent” Hopes for an Inheritance to Get on the Housing Ladder

August 31, 2012

The Telegraph has published an interesting article about the hopes of young people today, claiming “Generation rent’s” despair at ever getting on the housing ladder is taking a morbid turn with 42% of tenants claiming that their best hope of raising a deposit and becoming a homeowner is an inheritance. This demonstrates the need to provide fully for all your dependents after death or consider making an intervivos gift. Contact Prue Abrahams

New Offensive by SRA against Alternative Investments to be in Force in Early 2013

August 30, 2012

See Siobhain Egan’s blog here on this subject.

MPs Attack Customs’ Failure to Tackle Alcohol Tax Evasion

August 30, 2012

The Telegraph reports that customs officials have been criticised by MPs for failing to crack down on criminal gangs who dodge alcohol tax at an estimated cost to the Treasury of more than £1bn. Read the article here

How Does HMRC Spot the Tax Evaders?

August 30, 2012

There has been a lot in the news recently about tax non-compliance and there are various shades of grey among the official guidelines. The Telegraph provides some insight into how HMRC collates its data here.

If you are facing a tax investigation of any type, contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan .

EADS Appoints PwC to Investigate £2billion Saudi Deal

August 30, 2012

The Telegraph reports that defence giant EADS has appointed accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct a parallel investigation to the Serious Fraud Office probe into bribery allegations at its subsidiary GPT Special Projects. Read more here.

CML Says Mortgage Lending Bounced Back in July

August 20, 2012

Total mortgage lending rose in July to the highest level so far this year, but the Council of Mortgage Lenders has warned that the property market was still flat. See the BBC’s coverage here.

Discharge of Sexual Offences Prevention Order

August 20, 2012

Tony Meisels has succeeded in discharging a SOPO made against a client in July 2005.

The sentence imposed by the Magistrates’ Court for the original substantive offence had been a community order and, as such, the client would have ceased to be on the Sex Offenders Register after 5 years. In this case, however, our client had remained subject to the provisions of the Register for a further 2 years as the SOPO was to run until further order. This month those provisions have since become even more onerous than before.

If you have a query about appealing your SOPO, please contact Tony Meisels.

Standard Chartered Faces Fines of Up to $1billion

August 20, 2012

The Telegraph reports that Standard Chartered faces fines totalling as much as $1billion (£637million) before it finally settles accusations that it by-passed US Iranian money-laundering sanctions. Read the full report here.

Another Major Investigation for the SFO

August 20, 2012

Senior executive at EADS, the European aerospace and defence group that owns Airbus, were warned five years ago about questionable payments that are now part of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. See coverage of this by the Telegraphhere.

HMRC Send Out Tax Penalties of £1,200

August 20, 2012

Around 500,000 people are being sent notices of penalties of at least £1,200 for failing to submit their self-assessment tax returns. Read the BBC’s article here.

Aggressive Stance from FSA’s New Head of Enforcement and Financial Crime

August 16, 2012

Tracey McDermott warns that soft-touch regulation is over and firms pushing things to the limit should expect no sympathy. See article in yesterday’s Guardianhere.

We are currently advising a number of clients facing such investigations. Contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan.

Standard Charter Fight US Claims of Money Laundering

August 16, 2012

Peter Sands, the chief executive of Standard Chartered, flew to New York on Monday in a last ditch bid to secure a settlement and avoid a public showdown with US regulators over Iranian money laundering charges. Read the article in the Telegraphhere.

Judge Urges People to Confront Elderly Relatives over Driving Skills

August 16, 2012

A judge has urged relatives of elderly drivers to think “very, very carefully” whether they should still be on the road after a 90-year-old retired GP killed another motorist in a head-on collision while on the wrong side of a dual carriageway last week. Read the Telegraph’s coverage here.

Consult any of our motoring law team if you have concerns about yourself or a relative on this issue.

FSA Appoints New Enforcement Chief

August 16, 2012

A new head of FSA enforcement was appointed last week. Read the full information in an article dated 10 August in Legal Weekhere.

Interview with Jeffrey Lewis on Business Crime Defence Published Today!

August 9, 2012

Read the online version here.

Fresh Allegations of Money Laundering for Leading Bank

August 7, 2012

US regulators have accused the British bank, Standard Chartered, of scheming with Iran to launder hundreds of billions of dollars over almost a decade.

Both the BBC and the Guardian have coverage on this story; click here to read the BBC article and here for the Guardian’s piece.

Jeffrey Lewis Interviewed by Lawyer Monthly

August 2, 2012

Jeffrey Lewis has been interviewed by Lawyer Monthly in connection with a feature on Business Crime in the UK. To read the full article please click here and see page 59.

A Defence Lawyer’s Perspective on Cyber Crime

August 1, 2012

Miles Herman has written a fantastic new article for our new Solicitors’ Blog. Read it here.

Murdoch’s News Corp. Directors May Encounter Charges and Prosecution for Neglect of Duties

August 1, 2012

Nick Davies and David Leigh at the Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that lawyers for Rupert Murdoch’s company, News Corporation, have protested against criminal charges amid fears over broadcasting contracts. Read their full article here.

SFO Search Warrants on Tchenguiz Ruled Unlawful by High Court

August 1, 2012

Articles by both the BBC and the Guardian have highlighted the decision yesterday by Judges at the High Court that the Serious Fraud Office provided ‘inadequate and unfair’ information in order to obtain search warrants in their investigations into two high-profile businessmen. Read the full BBC article here and Simon Neville’s article in the Guardian here .

Whistle-blowers on Tax Evasion Paid £1m

August 1, 2012

The Telegraph reported yesterday that more than £1million has been paid out in rewards to tax evasion informants since the start of the financial crisis. Read the full article here.

HSBC Sets Aside $700m for Money-Laundering Fines

August 1, 2012

HSBC has apologised for its ‘shameful’ systems failures that allowed it to launder money for terrorists and drug barons, a report in the Guardian explains. Read the full article here.

Reports of Possible Jail Time for Those Involved In the Libor Rigging Scandal

August 1, 2012

Both the Guardian and the Telegraph have published articles this week on the Libor rigging scandal, focusing on how the FSA and SFO are continuing their investigations and moving closer to bringing criminal charges against those involved. Read Jill Treanor’s article in the Guardianhere, and Banking Correspondent Harry Wilson’s article in the Telegraph here .

The Lengths to Which People Go to Avoid Tax

August 1, 2012

In an article for the BBC News magazine on 26 July 2012, comedian and writer Colm Regan ponders whether the people who have the most to hide are the same as those who have the greatest instinct to hoard, as the amount of tax stored in offshore accounts is reported to be more than the mind can comprehend. Read the full article here.

Extraordinary New HMRC Initiative to Catch Tax Evaders

August 1, 2012

The Telegraph’s Senior Political Correspondent, Christopher Hope, reported on 25 July 2012 that HM Revenue and Customs are set to encourage schoolchildren to tell their teachers if a neighbour is evading tax. Read the full article here.

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Criminal law updates from our solicitors June 2012

The following are some useful legal news updates from June 2012 from our London criminal lawyers and business solicitors. Contact us for expert legal advice or representation on any of these areas.

Article by Siobhain Egan Published in the JC

June 26, 2012
Siobhain Egan has written and published an article regarding the Bribery Act 2010 in the Jewish Chronicle (22 June 2012).

Revenue Focus Upon Doctors and Dentists for Tax Evasion

June 22, 2012
According to a headline article in today’s Times (22 June 2012) over 1,300 doctors and dentists are currently being investigated under the Revenue’s civil investigation procedure (code 9) and 700 who are being considered for criminal proceedings.
If you are such an individual, it is imperative that you also seek the advice of specialist lawyers, such as us, who can work together with your tax accountants to ensure that you will avoid a long running criminal investigation or prosecution.
We have years of successful experience in this regard and work closely with leading tax/forensic accountants up and down the country, all at reasonable rates.
Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan.

Chambers UK – Women in Law Initiative

June 22, 2012
Siobhain Egan has been included amongst profiles of leading women lawyers in-house and private practice.

Deferred Prosecution Agreements – a Controversial Road Ahead for the Prosecution of Corporate Crime

June 8, 2012
The MoJ has launched a consultation document prior to confirming the use of the US style DPAs. The document makes interesting reading. Effectively it means that companies will self-report any wrongdoing to the relevant authority and enter into a DPA.
Contact Jeffrey Lewis.

Operation Stimtone Arrests

June 8, 2012
Following an intensive one-day Metropolitan Police operation focusing on economic crime, forty-five people have been arrested.
Nine-hundred Metropolitan Police Officers were involved in this operation, which focused upon safety deposit boxes and pawnbrokers.
We have already been consulted by a number of individuals affected by this operation, including some under arrest.
If you have been affected by this operation contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan immediately.

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