David Walbank QC examines R (Joseph) v DPP [2022] 1 Cr App R 17 for the New Law Journal

September 2, 2022

In this month’s Crime Brief for the New Law Journal, David Walbank QC bemoans the fact that the criminal justice system is ever more hedged about by Guidelines, Protocols, Codes of Practice and the like.

Whether it be grounds for arrest, charging decisions, legal directions to the jury, sentencing parameters or Parole Board reviews, the exercise of discretion is constrained like never before. However, he says, in R (Joseph) v DPP [2022] 1 Cr App R 17, the Divisional Court struck a blow for common sense and compassion when it comes to the laying of serious criminal charges against youngsters.

This tragic case gave rise to a judicial review of a decision made under the Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) Scheme. It prompted the court to reject emphatically the suggestion that any particular set of CPS Guidance could trump all others: it would be “anathema to the kind of polycentric decision-making involved in prosecuting young persons to treat the Homicide Guidance as paramount, to the exclusion of the guidance in the Youth Offender Guidance” and in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

For the full article, see: [Crime brief – 172 NLJ 7991, p9]