- Prosecutions for exporting waste—timing the categorisation of waste, assessing the relevance of evidence and beware overstating a defendant’s character (R v Biffa Waste Services)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Corporate Crime analysis: The Court of Appeal has given valuable guidance on the approach to be taken in prosecutions involving the export of waste. This case involved an appeal against conviction for two offences of transporting waste for recovery to a country to which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Develop (OECD) decision did not apply, contrary to regulation 23 of the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007. The Court of Appeal held that the correct categorisation of waste material had to be determined as at the point where its export began and that neither the destination of the waste, nor any standard applied by the recipient or by the country to which it was to be exported, were relevant to the jury’s deliberation. Furthermore, the court concluded that the trial judge had been right to allow the prosecution’s application to admit bad character evidence to correct an apparent false impression given by Biffa’s chief operating officer that Biffa had not been the sort of company which would commit an offence. This judgment is the latest in a series of cases clarifying the law on the export of waste material to developing countries. Written by Sailesh Mehta, barrister, Red Lion Chambers.
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