In a case that rested solely on identification evidence and alibi, a judge had erred in allowing hearsay evidence to be adduced by the Crown in order to rebut a defendant’s alibi. Where witnesses were reluctant to attend court to give evidence, the first port of call was to secure their attendance and attempt to obtain the evidence orally.
ADMISSIBILITY OF HEARSAY EVIDENCE
Where a witness statement was read to the court in the witness’s absence, with the agreement of all the parties, it was not open to submit on appeal that all reasonable steps had not been taken to locate the witness and that the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.116(2)(d) had not been satisfied.
A magistrates’ court had erred, in the circumstances, in admitting a police incident log as hearsay evidence pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.117 . However, the log was admissible in the interests of justice pursuant to s.114 and s.121 of the Act and therefore the offender’s convictions were safe.
In the circumstances, sentences of six and nine years’ imprisonment for a conspiracy involving counterfeit banknotes were not manifestly excessive. In confiscation proceedings a judge was entitled to take into account evidence that had not been called at trial since, by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1993 , ordinary rules of criminal evidence did not apply and a civil procedure was adopted.
The striking of a fair balance between the general interests of the community and the protection of defendants’ rights required that the scales came down in favour of community protection. As such the use of hearsay evidence in applications for anti-social behaviour orders was permitted.