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Noel Casey and Andrew Herd secure acquittal in relation to Modern Slavery Act offences

20. Feb 2019

In a four week modern slavery case at Cambridge Crown Court, Noel Casey and Andrew Herd secured the dismissal of forced or compulsory labour charges contrary to s.1(1) of the Modern Slavery Act. The case concerned the exploitation of Slovak nationals in the Peterborough area. The complex legal arguments revolved around European Court of Human Rights law, the extent to which economic exploitation and deception could make out the offence absent any form of coercion - threat or ‘menace of penalty’ - be that explicit or implicit, and thereby raised the issue of how far the law, in the light of the existing UK legislation or its ECHR progenitors, can be stretched to encompass various forms of such behaviour. Subsidiary issues arose, such as the credibility of witnesses admitted to the National Referral Mechanism as victims, and the propriety of trying individuals whose economic and domestic circumstances are barely distinguishable from those of the alleged victims.

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