CA (Crim Div) (Irwin LJ, Holgate J, Linden J)
3 August 2020
It had been unwise for two DNA experts, when recording their agreed conclusions, to reach the very broadly phrased formulation that it was “not realistic to expect anyone to be able to account for the ways in which their DNA may have been transferred by indirect methods”. Expert evidence should be confined to purely scientific questions, leaving open any issue as to the surrounding facts.
CA (Crim Div) (Dingemans LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Judge Mayo)
17 July 2020
A conviction for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, committed in relation to the sale of solar panels, was upheld by the court. The judge had correctly directed the jury about inferences to be drawn from the appellant’s failure to mention facts in interview.
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Whipple J, Judge Lucraft QC)
23 June 2020
A life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years, imposed in accordance with the transitional provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 Sch.22, was unduly lenient in respect of an offender who had murdered eight people in a revenge-motivated arson attack. The appropriate term was not less than 27 years.
CA (Crim Div) (Simler LJ, Turner J, Cutts J)
22 June 2020
The court reduced two sentences for offences of conspiracy to supply cocaine. In relation to the first appellant, who was the sole carer of her 7 year old son, the sentencing judge had afforded insufficient weight to the definitive guidelines which specifically listed being the sole carer for dependent relatives as a factor reducing seriousness. In relation to the second appellant it had not been necessary to go outside of the sentencing range provided by the category 1 “significant role” guidelines in light of his role in the conspiracy.
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Carr J, Goss J)
2 April 2020
A conviction for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, involving two co-conspirators only, was quashed as the trial judge had erred in admitting under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.74(1) evidence of the guilty plea of one co-conspirator in the trial of the other. In a “closed” conspiracy involving only two alleged conspirators, such evidence effectively decided the central issue of whether the defendants had entered into the conspiracy and should have been excluded under s.78 of the Act.
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Fraser J, Hilliard J)
1 April 2020
A conviction for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs was quashed as, while it might have been open to the jury to conclude that the appellant was party to an agreement which involved the onward supply of drugs by him, there was insufficient evidence to establish that he was party to the larger conspiracy alleged. The trial judge had erred in refusing a submission of no case to answer. The court emphasised the importance of legal advisers complying with the time limits for submitting applications for permission to appeal.
CA (Crim Div) (Rafferty LJ, Lewis J, Carr J)
19 March 2020
A sentence of three years and four months’ imprisonment imposed on a man who had pleaded guilty to conspiring to produce and supply cannabis would be reduced to a term of two years and eight months’ imprisonment, partly because of exceptional circumstances in the form of significant health issues.
CA (Civ Div) (Sir Geoffrey Vos C, Patten LJ, Males LJ)
18 March 2020
A judge had failed to apply the correct standard of proof when determining the defendants’ counterclaim of dishonest conspiracy against the claimants, and the matter was remitted to a new judge for re-determination.
CA (Crim Div) (Dingemans LJ, Elisabeth Laing J, Judge Wall QC)
13 February 2020
The Court of Appeal upheld the convictions of two young offenders for conspiracy to commit robbery. The trial judge had been entitled to continue with the trial after a 16-year-old prosecution witness with ADHD, who had given evidence in chief and who had been cross-examined in part on behalf of one of the accused, became distressed and refused to continue to give evidence.
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Judge Wendy Joseph QC)
12 February 2020
The court upheld a conviction for conspiracy to possess prohibited firearms with intent to endanger life in the case of an offender who had been involved in the importation of firearms, concealed in soft toys, from the US. It could not be said that the judge had erred in directions given to the jury in relation to circumstantial evidence and hearsay evidence.