The seventh amendment to the Criminal Practice Directions 2015 was issued by the Lord Chief Justice on 26 July 2018 and comes into force on 01 October 2018.
Additions at paragraph 3F.12 and 3F.13 highlight the merit of an application for a support worker or other companion for a defendant who is vulnerable or has communication difficulties when it has not been necessary to appoint an intermediary but a defendant may benefit from some additional support to follow the proceedings.
Paragraph 3N.6 states that before the first appearance, the magistrates’ court should hear representations about the suitability of appearing by live link from the police station for a defendant with any mental health problems. The live link should only be used where it is in the interests of justice.
3P is a new section which in conjunction with the amended Criminal Procedure Rules contain provisions that set out what the court will need to consider when ordering a psychiatric report and the timetabling and practical arrangements for making such a request.
Amendments to paragraph 18D affect the operational arrangements the court must follow to ensure that the witness’ identity is not compromised when their anonymity has been ordered.
R is a new section which concerns the commissioning and timetabling of medical reports for sentencing.
CPD IX Appeal 39E has been amended to state that when leave to appeal has been refused by the single judge a loss of time direction can be made by the single judge or the full court on a renewal of the application. This is ‘the only means the court has of discouraging unmeritorious applications’.1 All are reminded that the fact that counsel has advised an unmeritorious appeal will not be enough to prevent a loss of time direction being made.
The position that the court should be sympathetic to applications for support workers to attend the trials of defendants for whom an intermediary has not been deemed necessary is welcome. However, whether this means that funding will be available for the support worker to attend is unclear. Practitioners should consider applying for funding in the same was as they would for an intermediary – see YJLC guide. Practitioners should not be dissuaded from applying for an intermediary where this would be the more appropriate outcome.
- R v Gray & Others  EWCA Crim 2372 (back)