Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Annual Report 2008/09

From the introduction, by the Lord Chief Justice:

“The publication of this Report marks not only a year in the life of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division, but also, co-incidentally, the first anniversary of my appointment as Lord Chief Justice. It has been an interesting and active year for both of us.

“This year also saw the retirement of Lord Justice Latham both as a Judge of the Court of Appeal and as Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division. We shall greatly miss his active but calm leadership of the Court, in what has become an increasingly difficult and complex area of judicial responsibility. In his place I welcome Lord Justice Hughes whose energetic commitment to the work of the Court is already making itself felt, not least in the provision of judicial reading time and his contribution to the work of five judge courts.

“…As can be seen from the Report itself, among the issues on which the Court has given guidance, in relation to sentencing, are dwelling house burglaries and crimes involving the use of firearms or knives. It has also considered, notably, the use of anonymous witnesses in the light of the Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008 (now been made permanent in the Coroners & Justice Act 2009), and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the admission of hearsay evidence.

“Perhaps three other matters call for specific mention. First, the Court has shown its ability to respond with remarkable speed to urgent cases, whether in relation to short sentences or interlocutory appeals, which involve a suspension of proceedings in the Crown Court. Second, with the invaluable assistance of Roger Venne, the staff of the Criminal Appeal Office and the continuing commitment of the judiciary, another reduction in the average waiting time for the hearing of conviction appeals has been achieved. Third, it may well be that the time has now come to revisit the proposal in Sir Robin Auld’s report, Review of the Criminal Courts of England and Wales, in which he argued for the codification of the sentencing powers of the criminal Courts.”