CRIMINAL EVIDENCE

[2020] EWCA Crim 284
[2020] EWCA Crim 284
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Sweeney J, Lambert J)
28 February 2020

A judge had erred in refusing to admit bad character evidence against a witness whose credibility was at issue in a criminal trial. The witness had been accused of attempting to blackmail another witness by saying that she would allege sexual misconduct against him if he did not pay her money. The judge had erred in concluding that the blackmail allegation was not evidence of a false complaint and in holding that the allegation did not have substantial probative value because the evidential dispute could not be resolved by a jury.

[2020] EWCA Crim 270
[2020] EWCA Crim 270
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Spencer J, Griffiths J)
27 February 2020

The court refused to admit fresh psychiatric evidence in support of a possible defence of diminished responsibility to a charge of murder where the defence had not been pursued at trial, despite having been considered and raised in the defence statement. It would not be in the interests of justice to allow the evidence to be adduced.

[2020] EWHC 412 (Admin)
[2020] EWHC 412 (Admin)
QBD (Admin) (Chamberlain J)
25 February 2020

A magistrates’ court had not erred in making a closure order in respect of the flat of an individual who was being investigated for a drugs offence, and where a police search had discovered drugs and drug-dealing paraphernalia. CPR PD 52E, which applied to appeals by way of case stated, did not contain any provision about the filing of skeleton arguments or hearing bundles. That was a lacuna, and consideration should be given to amending it to impose a general requirement for the filing of skeleton arguments, agreed hearing bundles and authorities bundles.

[2020] EWCA Crim 137
[2020] EWCA Crim 137
CA (Crim Div) (Simon LJ, Cutts J, Eady J)
12 February 2020

In a rape trial where the central issue was credibility, the judge had been entitled to permit the prosecution to adduce evidence of a defence witness’s bad character under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.100(1)(b). The fact that the witness had been convicted of serious sexual offences might fairly be regarded as providing an explanation of why he might be prepared to lie to assist a friend accused of similar offences.

[2020] EWCA Crim 124
[2020] EWCA Crim 124
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.

[2020] EWCA Crim 95
[2020] EWCA Crim 95
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Cheema-Grubb J, Foster J)
28 January 2020

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 s.67(3), which protected against voyeurism in the form of the recording of another person doing a private act, was not limited to protecting the privacy of a complainant from secret filming by someone who was not present during the private act in question. A participant to certain activity could be guilty of a s.67(3) offence if they secretly recorded what was otherwise a lawful event in which they had participated.

[2020] UKPC 4
[2020] UKPC 4
PC (Bah) (Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lady Arden)
27 January 2020

An appellant challenging his conviction for rape 23 years after the trial could not rely on any lack of evidence resulting from his failure to obtain samples to carry out DNA testing. Any request for samples he had made during the trial had not been pursued. There had been no failure to disclose by the prosecution: the appellant had been made aware 18 months before trial of the prosecution’s expert evidence on DNA. The appellant had not been prevented from obtaining his own expert report.

[2020] EWCA Crim 38
[2020] EWCA Crim 38
CA (Crim Div) (Singh LJ, Spencer J, Judge Leonard QC)
21 January 2020

For the purposes of commission of the offence of possession of an article for use in fraud, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 s.6(1), the phrase “for use in the course of or in connection with any fraud” could apply to articles that were used to mislead a victim, but also to articles created later in order to disguise or mask the fraud. There was nothing in the authorities to the effect that the relevant fraud could not be one which had been committed in the past.

[2019] EWCA Crim 2271
[2019] EWCA Crim 2271
CA (Crim Div) (Fulford LJ, Spencer J, William Davis J)
19 December 2019

It was for the defence at trial to take decisions as to whether to use or act on disclosed unused material, and a failure to inspect such material was unlikely to justify a later application, following conviction, for it to be introduced as fresh evidence. The court emphasised that only in exceptional circumstances would evidence be admitted that could have been adduced at trial.

CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Nicol J, Johnson J)
19 December 2019

Although the transcript of a Crown witness’s interview should have been disclosed to the defence, there was no contradiction in it compared to what was said at trial that was capable of affecting the safety of an offender’s conviction for possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

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