Serious offences committed by victims of trafficking

Ben Douglas-Jones QC appeared in R v Kolesnikova (CACD 18-12-18; Gross LJ; Cutts J and HHJ Lucraft QC) in which the Court held that:

  1. where victims of human trafficking commit serious offences, not only is the decision as to whether or not to prosecute fact-specific, but also a high level of compulsion is needed to extinguish culpability to inform a decision not to prosecute;
  2. the nexus of compulsion is a significant factor where the defendant has an opportunity to extricate herself from the offence;
  3. with expert trafficking evidence, where such evidence is generalised “country” evidence which could have been called in the Crown Court, it is generic evidence which should not be admitted in support of an appeal;
  4. a diagnosis of trauma induced “freeze response” brought about by traffickers’ control of the defendant as a victim did not form the basis for allowing an appeal.