WITNESSES

[2017] EWCA Crim 1461
[2017] EWCA Crim 1461
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Spencer J, Recorder of Westminster)
6 October 2017

A conviction for kidnap was unsafe where the judge had failed to properly assess the reliability of the hearsay evidence of an absent witnesses.

[2017] EWCA Crim 751
[2017] EWCA Crim 751
CA (Crim Div) (Flaux LJ, Haddon-Cave J, Cheema-Grubb J)
16 May 2017

An offender who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, but denied an offence of theft, had the theft conviction quashed where unbeknownst to him, the witness who had identified him had a previous fraud-related conviction. There was a real possibility that the jury would have reached a different verdict if they had known about the witness’ conviction.

[2017] EWCA Civ 193
[2017] EWCA Civ 193
CA (Civ Div) (Treacy LJ, Simon LJ)
30 March 2017

The court upheld a finding that a cyclist was solely responsible for a collision which occurred when he veered into the path of an oncoming car as he tried to avoid cycling through a puddle.

[2017] NICA 19
[2017] NICA 19
CA (NI) (Gillen LJ, Weir LJ, McBride J)
16 March 2017

The risk that a jury considering a charge of sexual assault had been deprived of evidence relevant to its deliberations, including a refusal to allow the defendant to adduce character witness evidence, rendered the conviction unsafe. The court considered the law relating to character evidence, and the distinction between evidence as to a defendant’s general reputation and evidence of specific acts or individual opinions regarding the defendant.

[2017] EWHC 1070 (Admin)
[2017] EWHC 1070 (Admin)
DC (Sharp LJ, Sweeney J)
24 February 2017

A district judge had been entitled to revisit and reverse a decision made the previous day to vacate a trial on the prosecution’s application where that application had been misleading.

[2016] NICA 43
[2016] NICA 43
CA (NI) (Gillen LJ, Weatherup LJ, Weir LJ)
15 November 2016

A judge had been correct to refuse a defendant’s application to discharge the jury after a prosecution witness deliberately disclosed prejudicial material. The impact of the material and the potential prejudice to the defendant were limited, and the judge took remedial action in his charge to the jury.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1616
[2016] EWCA Crim 1616
CA (Crim Div) (Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, Treacy LJ, Holroyde J)
3 November 2016

An offender sentenced to life imprisonment after an improvised explosive device he had made killed a US soldier in Iraq, had his minimum term reduced from 38 years to 35 years. The reduction reflected the fact that he had played a lesser role in the bomb-making process and his actions had partly been designed to protect the Sunni community from the Shiite militia. However, the offender’s application under the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 s.23 to admit evidence from two witnesses whose names would only be disclosed to the prosecution within a tightly confined confidentiality ring, as part of his appeal against conviction, was rejected.

[2016] EWCA Crim 1392
[2016] EWCA Crim 1392
CA (Crim Div) (Davis LJ, Gilbart J, Sir John Royce)
23 September 2016

The convictions of two defendants for murder were unsafe and were quashed, as they relied largely on the credibility of a prosecution witness subsequently shown to be unreliable, and involved a failure by the prosecution to disclose evidence supporting defence attacks on that reliability.

[2015] EWCA Crim 1815
[2015] EWCA Crim 1815
CA (Crim Div) (Macur LJ, Cooke J, Cutts J)
20 November 2015

The murder convictions of three defendants were not rendered unsafe by a failure by the police to disclose that they had provided a “text” to the main prosecution witness in order to provide her with sentencing help in respect of separate criminal charges which she faced. If the jury had known about the police assistance there was nothing to suggest that it would have reached a different verdict because the defendants were convicted on a retrial and the witness had given consistent evidence at the first trial, before she faced any criminal charges.

[2015] EWCA Civ 836
[2015] EWCA Civ 836
CA (Civ Div) (Moore-Bick LJ, Fulford LJ, Vos LJ)
28 July 2015

In discharging their core functions of investigating crime and obtaining evidence, the police did not owe a duty of care to potential witnesses in general. Further, the Merseyside police had not assumed responsibility for the safety of witnesses to a shooting incident. A negligence claim brought by the witnesses, relating to the disclosure of their address to the defendants by the CPS, could therefore not be sustained.

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