Social media messages in which a defendant had said that she might stab her boyfriend when stressed or angry had been correctly admitted as evidence that might assist the jury in determining whether the boyfriend’s later death as a result of a knife in the heart had been an accident or a stabbing by the defendant with the necessary intent.
A judge had erred in refusing a submission of no case to answer in a murder trial, as the possibility that the victim’s death was an accident could not safely be excluded.
The failure to produce a defendant in court because of an error in the administrative process was capable of amounting to an “accident” within the meaning of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.129(1), so as to entitle magistrates to exercise their discretion and remand her in custody in her absence.
Where the offender’s defence to a charge of murder was one of accident and the jury had been directed that they could only convict if they were sure that she had acted deliberately and in a pre-planned way, there was no room for a verdict of manslaughter or any consideration of provocation. It was either murder or nothing.
Applications for leave to appeal against convictions for murder, based on fresh evidence and a complaint that the legal advisers had failed to conduct the defence properly by not advancing the defence of diminished responsibility, were refused, as the fresh evidence did not undermine the Crown’s case and it was not appropriate, in the circumstances, to allow the issue of diminished responsibility to be argued on appeal.