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141 J.P.N. 1 (1977)

handle is hein.journals/cljw141 and id is 1 raw text is: 



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                    LONDON,  SATURDAY,  JANUARY  1, 1977. VOL. 141 No. 1 Pages 1 - 16

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notes of the week

Compensation for Loss
   The  case of  Cadamarteri  (1976)
The  Times, December 1, will no doubt
be quoted  in courts up and down the
country for some time by defence soli-
citors as authority for the proposition
that compensation should not be award-
ed against an offender where the stolen
property is returned in full, even though
it is in dismantled form. In fact, that is
not quite the point decided.
   In that case the defendant appealed
successfully to the Court of  Appeal
against a  £250  compensation  order
made  at Bradford Crown Court follow-
ing his conviction for handling a stolen
mini car. Evidence had been given that
at the date of the theft the car had a
value of £250, and it was found part-
ially dismantled at the appellant's garage.
The  pieces had been retained as exhi-
bits for the trial. Quashing the order of
compensation, Bridge, L.J., said that no
damage  had  been suffered within the
meaning of s.35 of the Powers of Crim-
inal Courts  Act  1973, because  the
pieces had been recovered and this did
not support a compensation order in the
amount  of the value of the car as assess-
ed at the date of the loss. Similarly, he
said, there was no basis on the evidence
of  the difference in value of the car
when  stolen and its value in its dis-
mantled  condition with  the  benefit
of the work  done to it by the appell-
ant when  it had been recovered. The
compensation  order  had  been made
without any proper basis for it.

   Section 35 allows the court to make
a compensation order for any personal
injury, loss or damage resulting from
the offence. Clearly, where the whole of
the property is recovered in dismantled
form  there can be no basis under the
present law for making an order of com-
pensation for  its full value. Perhaps
there should be: it seems hard that the
owner  should be required to take back a
car which has been so forcibly abused
and it would not seem for a moment un-
just for the court to have power  to
make  an order against the offender that
he compensate his victim in full and be
allowed to keep the dismantled pieces.
Nevertheless, that is not the law.
   What  Cadamarteri does not say  is
that, where a thief or handler dismantles
the stolen property and it is recovered
in dismantled form that there can be no
basis for a compensation order. Presum-
ably, if the prosecution or the owner
had submitted a bill for the cost of re-
assembling the car to its pristine con-
dition that sum could have been made
the subject of a compensation order as
a loss resulting from the offence. Where
the court went wrong was in making a
financial order which ignored the reali-
ties of the situation.

Duty Solicitor Schemes
   Mr. Michael King, lecturer in law at
Warwick University, who under the aus-
pices of the Cobden Trust, the research
offshoot of the National Council for
Civil Liberties, has been examining the
effects of duty solicitor schemes, is

doubtful about the long term effects of
such schemes on unrepresented defend-
ants in magistrates' courts.
   The research was carried out -at Hen-
don  magistrates' court, one of the first
courts to  introduce a duty  solicitor
scheme. Another  magistrates' court in
north London, Harrow, which had not a
duty  solicitor scheme, was used as a
comparison to establish the effect of the
Hendon   scheme. The  research found
that, while there was little difference in
the  proportion of  pleadings of not
guilty and legal aid applications between
the two  courts, significantly more de-
fendants obtained bail on first appear-
ance in the Hendon  court, where the
duty  solicitor scheme was operating.
   Comparing those defendants at Hen-
don  who   were  represented by  the
scheme with those at Hendon who were
not, Mr.  King  found  that a higher
proportion  of   the  scheme-assisted
defendants pleaded not guilty, obtained
bail and were successful in their legal aid
applications. The report finds that the
introduction of the scheme at Hendon
had reduced the tendency for the police
to influence defendants' pleas on first
hearing and had eliminated a degree of
confusion for defendants who were un-
certain about how  to plead. On  the
other hand,  by  encouraging adjourn-
ments, the scheme had counter-balanced
the amount  of the court's time which
the scheme might have saved.
   So far, so good; the research does
little more than confirm the findings of
other research projects concerned with
the effect of legal representation. Mr.

(1) The Effects of a Duty Solicitor Scheme
   by  Michael King. Cobden Trust, 186
   King's Cross Road, London WCIX 9DE.
   Price 70p.

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