JURY DIRECTIONS

[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 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 2100
[2019] EWCA Crim 2100
CA (Crim Div) (Lord Burnett LCJ, Sweeney J, Sir Roderick Evans)
29 November 2019

In an indecent assault trial which turned on the comparative credibility of the complainant and the defendant, the judge should have given a full good-character direction in respect of the defendant. His failure to do so, coupled with his direction that the jury should treat the unchallenged evidence of the defendant’s character witnesses with caution, simply because they knew him well, rendered the defendant’s conviction unsafe.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1896
[2019] EWCA Crim 1896
CA (Crim Div) (Leggatt LJ, Carr J, Judge Thomas QC)
24 October 2019

A sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment was manifestly excessive in respect of a husband who had been convicted of the attempted murder of his wife. The sentencing judge had erred in not giving proper consideration as to whether the offender’s adjustment disorder had impaired his mental functioning. The appropriate sentence was one of 17 years’ imprisonment.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1722
[2019] EWCA Crim 1722
CA (Crim Div) (Hamblen LJ, Andrew Baker J, Sir Roderick Evans)
17 October 2019

A conviction under the Child Abduction Act 1984 s.2(1)(b) was overturned where the defendant with communication difficulties had not had the benefit of an intermediary to assist him in giving evidence and in understanding the questions put to him in cross-examination. His co-accused, who had comparable communication difficulties, had had an intermediary throughout his trial; therefore, there was no parity of approach and there had been real unfairness to the defendant in relation to both the giving of his evidence and the jury’s ability to assess it.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1734
[2019] EWCA Crim 1734
CA (Crim Div) (Hamblen LJ, Sweeney J, Moulder J)
3 October 2019

An appeal against a conviction for conspiracy to commit violent disorder was allowed because there was a real risk that the conviction was unsafe in the light of the confusing and potentially misleading directions given by the trial judge in answer to a jury question.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1466
[2019] EWCA Crim 1466
CA (Crim Div) (Holroyde LJ, Julian Knowles J, Judge Michael Chambers QC)
16 August 2019

A trial judge had been wrong to allow the prosecution to admit part of a defendant’s defence statement at trial. It would not have helped the jury to resolve an issue in the case, as required by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 s.6E(5)(b), and it was not clear that the defendant had changed his defence; an indication in the statement that he questioned the identification evidence was ambiguous.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1961
[2019] EWCA Crim 1961
CA (Crim Div) (Haddon-Cave LJ, Farbey J, Judge Molyneux)
30 July 2019

Where a woman had sent a video depicting sexual abuse to a child to three people allegedly as a warning from a concerned parent, the judge had correctly directed the jury that there were two separate questions to consider: whether her reason for holding and distributing the video was a genuine and truthful one, and if so, whether that reason was legitimate. He had been right to make it clear that the genuineness of her belief was irrelevant when considering the second question.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1283
[2019] EWCA Crim 1283
CA (Crim Div) (Hallett LJ, McGowan J, Sir John Royce)
25 July 2019

The Court of Appeal upheld a conviction for murder as it could not be said that a direction given by the trial judge in answer to a question asked by the jury during their deliberations was inadequate. Minimum terms of 30 years’ imprisonment were also held to be appropriate where the offenders had systematically ill-treated the victim, who had been employed as their nanny, before her death in appalling circumstances.

[2019] EWCA Crim 1318
[2019] EWCA Crim 1318
CA (Crim Div) (Gross LJ, McGowan J, Butcher J)
23 July 2019

A company was denied leave to appeal against its conviction for conspiracy to corrupt even though two directors who had constituted its “directing mind and will” (DMW) were not present at trial and did not give evidence. Their absence did not render the trial unfair, given that a company was a separate legal entity and there was no rule of law or practice which required a DMW to be indicted with the company or to be available at trial to give evidence.

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