Court of Appeal Gives Landmark Trafficking Judgment

Ben Douglas-Jones appeared for the Crown, led by John McGuinness QC, in Joseph et al. [2017] EWCA Crim 36, where the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) heard six conjoined appeals concerning victims of human trafficking charged with offences

The specially constituted court (Lord Thomas CJ, Hallett VP and Goss J) addressed:

  1. whether duress needed to be reassessed in the context of victims of trafficking;
  2. how to approach the prosecution of victims of trafficking who commit serious offences (such as drug trafficking) less than murder;
  3. whether the courts should redefine the approach to the prosecution of victims of human trafficking following the coming into force of the statutory defence to offences of being a victim of trafficking (s45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015);
  4. the prosecution of child victims of trafficking (where the CCRC erroneously suggested that the Court of Appeal had misunderstood the law on the basis that the Court in R v Le and R v N [2012] EWCA Crim 189, [2013] QB 379 (in which Ben Douglas-Jones appeared) had looked at compulsion in relation to child victims in the wrong way);
  5. the relationship between the Competent Authority and the CPS.