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David Rechulski Joins Leaders in Law as the Criminal Law Member in Brasil

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome David Rechulski as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Criminal Law expert in Brasil.

Founder and full partner of the firm, David Rechulski has more than 30 years of professional experience and is one of the most admired and respected lawyers in the country in the corporate criminal and criminal compliance areas.

Its rigorous ethics in the practice of law and its legal and strategic quality, in addition to its full availability in serving its clients, have given it important mentions in national and international legal publications, such as Best Lawyers, Global Law Experts, Leaders in Law, Corporate INTL and Leaders League.

Rechulski has been ranked for more than 15 consecutive years by the Brazilian publication Analysis Advocacia as one of the most admired lawyers in specialized Criminal Law and is one of the only 35 lawyers in the country to be mentioned in all its editions, in addition to appearing in first place since the creation of the Ranking of Lawyers.

CPS embarks on summer hiring spree

The Crown Prosecution Service has gone on another major hiring spree that could push the criminal defence community closer to extinction.

The prosecuting body has launched a ‘National Lawyer Campaign Summer 2021’, with several jobs up for grabs.

These include 14 Crown prosecutors, with salaries starting at £38,000, going up to £44,600. London posts will have an additional £3,150 recruitment and retention allowance.

The CPS also wants to recruit 14 senior Crown prosecutors. The salary ranges from £48,077 to £62,590. Again, there is a recruitment and retention allowance for London posts.

The advertisements for both roles state that length of employment is up to two years. The Gazetteunderstands that whether candidates are offered fixed-term or permanent contracts will be based on business needs.

The campaign pack states that the CPS prides itself on providing a variety of employee benefits, including wellbeing support, flexible working, civil service pension, high street discounts as well as 25 days’ annual leave, which rises to 30 days after five years.

Director of public prosecutions Max Hill QC says the CPS’s duty is to make sure the right person is prosecuted for the right offence, and to bring offenders to justice wherever possible.

However, the House of Commons justice select committee, which conducted an extensive inquiry on the future of legal aid, concluded this year that a shortage of qualified criminal legal aid lawyers could shift the balance between prosecution and defence, and compromise the fairness of the criminal justice system.

On recruitment and retention, the committee heard that many criminal lawyers are leaving private practice to join the CPS.

Kerry Morgan, director of Manchester firm Morgan Brown and Company Solicitors, told the inquiry that firms had essentially become a training ground for the CPS.

She said: ‘I started my practice in 2006, and more or less every year for eight years we had a trainee every year, so we would be taking on a trainee solicitor, getting a duty solicitor, keeping them on, but we’ve probably not had one in years and years simply because you haven’t got the money to train them, or the time required, as you’re keeping the wheels on in terms of the rest of the practice, and when they do qualify they end up going to the Crown Prosecution Service. So we’ve become a training ground for the prosecution, as opposed to being able to retain them ourselves because the money is just not there.’

The committee’s recommendations to government include linking legal aid fees to CPS pay rates.

An independent review of criminal legal aid currently taking place. The government is due to publish its response by the end of the year.

Avinash Singh joins Leaders in Law as the exclusive Criminal Law member in Australia

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome Avinash Singh as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Criminal Law expert in Australia.

Avinash Singh is the Principal Lawyer of Astor Legal. He is one of Australia’s most respected and highly sought-after lawyers, having represented some of Australia’s elite sportspeople including Olympians & National Rugby League (NRL) players. His client list has included names such as rugby league great, Andrew Johns.

Mr Singh has worked on some of the country’s most prolific cases for over ten years. He has been recognised by the Law Society as an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law, placing him in the top 6% of Australian lawyers

If you require any assistance in this area, please use the contact details provided in Avinash’s profile below or contact us at info@leaders-in-law.com & we will put you in touch.

Indiana Supreme Court Decrypts Computer Crime Coverage

The Indiana Supreme Court recently reversed a trial court’s finding and an affirming intermediate appellate court opinion regarding the interpretation of a policy providing coverage for cyber-crime. In G&G Oil Co. of Indiana, Inc. v. Continental Western Insurance Co., the state high court rejected the lower courts’ narrow interpretation of coverage and impractical view on causation. A copy of the decision can be found here.

Over three years ago, G&G Oil was locked out of its computer systems by a hacker following a social engineering fraud that was allegedly initiated by a targeted spear-phishing email. After consulting with the FBI and other tech services, G&G Oil paid a Bitcoin ransom to regain access to its computer systems and operations.

G&G Oil turned to its insurer, Continental Western Insurance Company, seeking coverage under a policy providing “Computer Crime Coverage.” That provision agreed to cover “loss or damage . . . resulting directly from the use of any computer to fraudulently cause a transfer of that property . . . .” Continental denied the claim because, according to Continental, the Bitcoin was voluntarily transferred and did not result directly from the use of a computer.

G&G Oil filed suit in Indiana state court. The trial court likened the ransomware attack to a burglar climbing through a window rather than fraud and thus concluded that the hacker did not “fraudulently cause a transfer.” The trial court also found that G&G Oil’s “voluntary” Bitcoin payment broke the causal chain of events originating from the use of a computer. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Continental and the appellate court affirmed. In March, the Indiana Supreme Court weighed in and reversed on both issues.

First, the Indiana Supreme Court considered the meaning of the phrase “fraudulently cause a transfer.” The court held the phrase was unambiguous, but was construed too narrowly by the lower courts. The court reviewed case law and dictionary definitions regarding the meaning of “fraud,” and concluded that the phrase “can be reasonably understood as simply ‘to obtain by trick.’” The court noted that not every ransomware attack is necessarily fraudulent, such as where there are no safeguards in place and a hacker accesses a company’s servers unhindered—in which case, there is no “trick” involved. Thus, the court concluded neither party was entitled to summary judgment because there were questions of fact surrounding whether access to G&G Oil’s servers was obtained by “trick.”

Second, the court analyzed the meaning of the phrase “resulting directly from the use of any computer.” Relying on dictionary definitions, the court concluded that the phrase meant that the loss must result either “immediately or proximately without significant deviation from the use of a computer.” In applying this standard, the court disagreed with the trial court’s conclusion that “G&G Oil’s voluntary transfer of Bitcoin was an intervening cause that severed the causal chain of events.” The court reasoned that the transfer was only voluntary in the sense that G&G Oil decided to pay the ransom and, instead, more closely resembled a payment “made under duress.” The court held G&G Oil’s transfer of Bitcoin satisfied the standard because it “was nearly the immediate result—without significant deviation—from the use of a computer.”

The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision is a refreshing reminder that coverage grants must be construed broadly in favor of coverage and that context is key when evaluating causation, which should be viewed pragmatically. It is also a reminder that policyholders should carefully evaluate cyber policies, identify coverage gaps caused by imprecise wording and strive to correct those provisions before the inception of coverage. In G&G Oil, Justice David noted that the “interplay between computer fraud coverage and computer hacking is an emerging area of the law.” The uncertainty among courts and the increase in ransomware attacks and other computer-related crimes emphasize the need for policyholders to be proactive in ensuring coverage for cyber events. For properly covered policyholders, G&G Oil gives courts a good road map for evaluating coverage.

ARTICLE BY

Kevin V. Small
Casey L. Coffey
Hunton Andrews Kurth

China amends criminal laws in latest anti-doping measure

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday passed an amendment punishing acts of luring, instigating, forcing or offering banned substances to athletes competing in domestic or international events. Amendment XI was added to Article 355 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, a provision which originally punished the act of providing addictive narcotics to another person.

The amendment stipulates that, “anyone who lures, instigates, or cheats athletes into using banned substances in either domestic or international competitions [shall face] up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine.” The amendment comes after the recent push towards imposing greater liability on the entourage of athletes, including doctors, physiotherapists, coaches and other officials who are often accomplice to the act of doping, however, operating confidentially.

The amendment is a historic step which strengthens China’s commitment to end doping in line with declarations of the 5th summit of the International Olympic Committee (2016). While commenting on the coverage of the amendment, Chen Zhiyu, executive director of the China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) remarked that, “[t]he law isn’t aimed at athletes, because cheating athletes will be punished by bans and fines in accordance with the [existing] anti-doping rules.”

Disparity warning as solicitors react to prosecution fee increase

Criminal defence practitioners may have to take direct action if the government fails to fix a pay disparity that will be made worse by revised fees announced for prosecution advocates, a practitioner group chief has warned.

On Friday the CPS unveiled a package of revised fees for prosecution advocates which it believes addresses concerns over unused material and trials involving multiple defendants. However, the news received a cool reception from the defence community.

Bill Waddington, chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, said he was pleased to see money dripping into the severely underfunded criminal justice system.

‘However, this payment is for prosecution work and does nothing to assist the publicly funded defence system which has been cut to the bone over years with slice after slice being imposed by respective governments. It is now time for politicians to take the crisis in the criminal justice system seriously before it is completely destroyed,’ he said.

He said: ‘This exacerbates a pre-existing problem. For instance CPS costs are recovered according to a notional rate of £69 per hour whereas defenders do so against a benchmark rate of only £45 per hour, less than a CPS paralegal. If a local authority prosecutes the case they can recover as much as £110 per hour.’

Troman, a solicitor and higher courts advocate at London firm Powell Spencer & Partners, said there is ‘ample evidence’ of a recruitment and retention crisis in criminal defence work. ‘Many solicitors train in private defence practices but, once they have gained experience, look to secure a position at the CPS or else leave the profession. This trend will increase.’

LCCSA members ‘are growing impatient with the inertia surrounding the criminal legal aid review and will note that this fee increase only came out following direct action‘, Troman said. ‘If that is the only language the Ministry of Justice understands then the message to this side of the profession is clear’.

The ministry is reviewing criminal legal aid fee schemes. Work has been accelerated on five areas, including unused material – however, the review will not be finished until late 2020.

‘Trust Me’ Kamala Harris Makes Big Play on Criminal Justice Reform

In an interview, Ms. Harris sought to paint her prosecutorial career as a reason voters should rely on her to deliver a criminal justice overhaul. But her critics say she has been part of the problem.

Senator Kamala Harris of California released a sweeping proposal on Monday to overhaul the criminal justice system, vowing to end mass incarceration and revamp police practices through a progressive wish list of policies, including some ideas Ms. Harris previously rejected during her years as a district attorney and state attorney general.

For months, Democratic presidential candidates have courted liberal activists with wide-ranging criminal justice plans, but Ms. Harris’s plan carries special significance. She has long cast herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” but some criminal justice experts and activists have balked at that characterization, saying she operated with the same “tough on crime” instincts that helped create the criminal justice problems she now seeks to solve.

The plan, perhaps the most ambitious effort of Ms. Harris’s campaign so far, focuses on reducing the prison population, creating national standards in policing, ensuring humane treatment for incarcerated people and prioritizing historically vulnerable communities. It also embraces ideas that have gone from the policy fringe to largely consensus positions popular among Democrats, including ending mandatory minimum sentences, eliminating private prisons, legalizing marijuana and incentivizing states to untether themselves from a cash bail system that disproportionately burdens the poor.

Astead W. Herndon is a national political reporter based in New York. He was previously a Washington-based political reporter and a City Hall reporter for The Boston Globe. @AsteadWesley
A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 16 of the New York edition with the headline: Harris Says ‘Trust Me’ on Need for Criminal Justice Reform. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

Immigration lawyer struck off for “hijacking identities”

A jailed immigration solicitor who turned to crime only two years after qualifying has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Sheikh Muhammad Usman was jailed for seven years at Croydon Crown Court in April this year for assisting illegal immigration through the “hijacking of identities”.

The SDT said Mr Usman was born in 1972 and qualified in 2008. He “became involved in the criminal activity” in 2010.

“Although he was not particularly experienced as a solicitor, he was a mature individual aged 35. Of the four defendants, he was the only qualified solicitor.

“The judge described the offences as particularly serious and striking at the heart of the immigration system and undermining public confidence in that system.”

The SDT went on: “A crime had been committed which was deliberate, calculated and repeated. It was elaborate, sophisticated and involved a high degree of planning.

“It continued over a period of time from 2010 to 2016. As a participant, [Mr Usman] concealed his activities, which only stopped because the criminal activity was discovered. Vulnerable people were exploited.”

Mr Usman, both at his trial and his SDT hearing, which he did not attend as a serving prisoner, maintained his innocence. He has appealed his conviction.

“He asserted that he was a victim of crime and had been deceived, which the judge did not accept, and he had been convicted. The only real mitigation he asserted was that he was innocent.”

Counsel for the Solicitors Regulation Authority said Mr Usman had been involved in a “fairly sophisticated” illegal immigration scheme, the ringleader of which was a Home Office employee, Shamsu Iqbal.

Judge Gower QC told Croydon Crown Court that Mr Iqbal accessed Home Office records of genuine individuals who had, at some point in the past, been in contact with it over their status.

He changed the records to “enable impostors to take the records of genuine individuals”.

The three other defendants would act as legal representatives of the impostors, corresponding with the Home Office to legitimise their immigration status.

Judge Gower said the motivation was “financial rather than humanitarian” and Mr Iqbal profited “to a very considerable extent”. A “considerable number of people” were helped to remain in the UK in breach of immigration law.

As an example of the impact on innocent individuals as a result of the “hijacking of identities”, the judge gave the example of a man detained at Heathrow and then Harmondsworth for nine days before the true position could be understood.

By virtue of his conviction, Mr Usman was found to have breached a number of SRA principles and showed a lack of integrity.

The allegation that he failed to notify the SRA of the date of his trial or fact of his subsequent conviction was rejected. He was struck off and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

Alleged perjury during ‘in camera’ hearings

High Court declaration comes after man alleged he was perjured in childcare proceedings

A man involved in childcare proceedings who wanted to allege perjury against witnesses in his case has secured a declaration from the High Court that alleged crimes that may have occurred during in camera hearings can be investigated.

The solicitor who acted in the case, Clifford Sullivan, of LawPlus solicitors, said the declaration was an important clarification of the law and that up to this there was a doubt in the minds of members of An Garda Síochána that they could investigate what happened during in camera hearings (hearings from which the public are excluded).

“The man felt that perjury had been committed and that that perjury caused the judge in his case to make a decision against him,” Mr Sullivan said.

Following his case the man, who cannot be identified, sought to bring criminal proceedings at District Court level as a “common informer”.

When this was refused, the man, acting as a lay litigant, lost a challenge to the decision in the High Court. He then appealed to the Supreme Court, at which point Mr Sullivan became involved.

Draft application

The Supreme Court then helped draft an application which was sent back to the High Court, where the man asked for a declaration that “a prosecution for a criminal offence allegedly occurring during the course of civil proceedings heard in a court of law otherwise than in public (in camera) is capable of being investigated and prosecuted as prescribed by law”.

The application was not opposed by the State and the declaration was made by Mr Justice Séamus Noonan late last month. It has not been reported before. The man received legal representation from Mr Sullivan and barristers Dervla Browne SC and Brendan Guildea.

Mr Sullivan said the declaration could be relevant to cases of allegations of perjury – intentionally lying in court – or attempts to pervert the course of justice, which arose from in camera proceedings.

He said it was now clear, as a result of the declaration, that people who felt that a possible crime had been committed during proceedings that were held in camera can go to An Garda Síochána and that gardaí can investigate the complaint.

How A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You

If you have been charged with a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, it is very important that you work with a criminal defense attorney throughout the entire process.

Whether or not you think that the situation is serious, there may be a lot more at risk than is immediately apparent, and you could find yourself looking back on this case years from now wishing that you had taken some different steps. Criminal law is complicated, which is why it is so important that you take this process seriously and work with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Worth.

Many criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations with potential clients so that they can ask a variety of questions about their situation and learn about the most appropriate steps that they should be taking to move forward with as much success as possible.

HELP NAVIGATING THE CRIMINAL LAW SYSTEM

The criminal law system in the United States is complicated and confusing, especially for individuals who do not have a comprehensive understanding of the situation that they are involved in, and the possible consequences of a guilty finding or plea agreement. If you are at a court hearing working with a prosecutor, they will make an initial offer for the individual to accept a guilty finding, or may make an initial offer for a plea deal. While this may seem like the proper decision given the circumstances and the individual may want to get the process finished with, it could come back to cause a major issue.

NEGOTIATING ACCEPTABLE OUTCOMES

You may have noticed that there is a theme here, and it all comes down to working towards the most acceptable outcome for your situation. Every step that your attorney takes will be with the intention to get you the lightest possible sentence, the most minimum penalties available for your charges, and how you can mitigate the impact that these charges have on your life. When you are working on your own and attempting to represent yourself, courts and prosecutors will take advantage of your inexperience and you will find yourself walking away with steep penalties without much clarity on how it even happened.

PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CASE

When you hire an attorney to represent your case, they are working directly on your behalf in order to help you with your case. This means that any action you think about taking outside of the case that you are unsure of how it will impact your proceedings, then you will be able to consult with them. If you are wondering how your case will impact your ability to apply for jobs, renew a drivers license, apply for housing, or anything else that is unclear at the time, you will be able to contact your attorney and get a specific answer about the exact situation that you are in. While this may not seem like a big deal right off the bat, you will find that their advice and counsel throughout your case is absolutely irreplaceable because of how simple it will make each of these otherwise complicated questions seem.

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR CASE

The most important thing that you will get from working with a criminal defense attorney is confidence. You will be able to get straight answers from them about your entire situation and will be able to plan accordingly for your future given their history of experience and their understanding of how they expect your case to go. 

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