CA (Crim Div) (Macur LJ, Jay J, Judge Marks QC)
4 August 2020
The convictions of two young offenders for a gang-related joint enterprise murder were safe. The judge had not erred in admitting evidence of relevant previous convictions and had properly directed the jury on accessorial liability. Sentences of detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure imposed on the three young offenders convicted of the murder were reduced to reflect their age and circumstances.
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Nicklin J, Murray J)
16 July 2020
A sentence of life detention for attempted murder imposed on a young offender was quashed and replaced with hospital and restriction order under the Mental Health Act 1983 s.37 and s.41. The appeal court admitted fresh evidence that, at the time of the offence, the offender had been suffering from autistic spectrum disorder which was linked to the offence and which reduced his culpability.
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Spencer J, Murray J)
24 June 2020
The court reduced an offender’s community order from 18 months to nine months, and a rehabilitation requirement from 20 days to 10 days, for the public order offence of threatening violence, where the offender had been 17 years old at the time of the offence, but 18 at the time of sentence, and where his co-accused had all received much more lenient sentences in the Youth Court despite one of them being only three months younger than the offender and pleading guilty to the much more serious offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
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.
QBD (Chamberlain J)
17 June 2020
The continued detention of a person held on suspicion of having committed an offence was in principle capable of being justified under ECHR art.5(1)(c) and (3) on the basis that it was necessary for his own protection. Accordingly, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.38(1)(b)(ii) was not incompatible with art.5.
CA (Crim Div) (Thirlwall LJ, Spencer J, Sir David Foskett)
11 March 2020
The absence of specific references to time and location was not an omission or defect in the definitive guideline on unlawful act manslaughter: the list of aggravating factors in the guideline was described as “non-exhaustive”. In every case, there were a number of potentially aggravating factors and it was for the judge to identify them and accord them the appropriate weight.
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.
CA (Crim Div) (Leggatt LJ, May J, Judge Stockdale QC)
21 February 2020
In an appeal against a rape conviction, the trial judge’s omission to direct the jury in the form recommended in R. v Sheehan (Michael)  1 W.L.R. 739 on the relevance of intoxication to intention did not render the conviction unsafe. The Sheehan direction was not a direction on a matter of law, but on how the jury should approach its fact-finding task. The jury had been directed in the clearest terms to assess the evidence and decide what factual inferences to draw.
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) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Fulford LJ, Holroyde LJ)
20 December 2019
In conjoined appeals against sentence brought by two young offenders and an adult offender, the court considered the proper approach to sentencing offenders who suffered from autism or other mental health conditions or disorders.