Last updateThu, 28 Mar 2024 2pm

More psychologists are in court – and that’s a good thing!

Vulnerable offenders with mental health, alcohol and substance abuse problems are increasingly being diverted from short-term custodial sentences and towards treatment that aims to tackle the causes of their offending.

In the pilot areas – Birmingham, Plymouth, Sefton, Milton Keynes and Northampton – psychologists are working collaboratively with the existing panels of justice and health officials. Together, the professionals ensure that magistrates and judges have the information they need to determine whether an offender should be required to receive treatment for their mental health, alcohol or drug issues.

They help to ensure that Community Sentence Treatment Requirements (CTSRs) are issued to the right people. CSTRs are a joint initiative by the Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England to improve access to treatment programmes for offenders serving community sentences.

Jail terms for dodgy meds sellers

Two prosecutions in as many days have seen jail terms imposed for the selling of unlicensed medicines.

On 8 September a man from Southall was jailed at Isleworth Crown Court on eight counts of possession and supply of significant quantities of unauthorised and unlicensed medication.

Investigators from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) raided a property belonging to Gurinder Bharaj in Ealing, where more than 100,000 individual doses of unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicines worth more than £30,000 were uncovered and seized. A smaller quantity of prescription medication was also seized.

Following an initial hearing Mr Bharaj pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment with immediate effect (concurrent to all counts). He was also ordered to pay a £75 victim surcharge.

The stakes are too high to simply plod on, legal expert warns as UK mortgage fraud increases by 50%

Property industry professionals have been urged to be extra vigilant in the wake of recent research that highlighted a 50% increase in mortgage and property transaction fraud in the past year.

Aziz Rahman (pictured), Senior Partner at corporate fraud defence specialists Rahman Ravelli, stressed that “the stakes are too high for those in property to simply plod on, oblivious to the risks” as an Experian study revealed that fraud is becoming more commonplace across the sector.

The research estimated that an average of £76,166 is lost in each example of mortgage or property transaction fraud.

With criminals coming up with increasingly sophisticated methods to defraud, Mr Rahman has warned those who are involved in property deals - from estate agents and surveyors to mortgage brokers and developers - to look out for red flags.

Hillsborough disaster researcher to speak at national criminology conference

A leading academic known for his investigative work into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster has been named as a keynote speaker at this year's British Society of Criminology (BSC) Conference.

Professor Phil Scraton, criminologist and author from Queen's University Belfast, will be a plenary speaker at the UK's most prestigious criminology conference, which this year is being held at Sheffield Hallam University (July 4 - 7).

The conference, titled 'Forging Social Justice: Local Challenges, Global Complexities', is expected to attract hundreds of practitioners, policy makers, academics and students from the criminology community across the world. 

Audit office reveals HMRC fraud estimates

Your Expert Witness Tax FraudIn December, the National Audit Office reported HMRC estimates that losses to tax fraud amount to £16bn each year. That is nearly half of HMRC’s estimate of its tax gap of £34bn – the difference between the amount of tax HMRC should collect each year and the amount it actually collects.

The report was the first in a series which will evaluate how effectively HMRC tackles different aspects of tax fraud – a longstanding problem not only for HMRC but for tax administrations around the world. Reducing the amount of tax that is lost due to tax fraud is a high priority for HMRC. To do that it will need to make better use of its data and develop its analysis.