While a judge’s summing-up could have been more clearly expressed, it was not confusing, did not advocate the prosecution case and it did not render the trial unfair. Trial judges were reminded of the guidance and draft directions contained in the Crown Court Compendium. Those directions provided judges with an invaluable resource which, when adapted to the facts of a case, provided an appropriate framework for a legally correct direction.
A magistrates’ court which purported to exercise its power under the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reverse a previous decision to admit bad character evidence had erred because that section was only available in the case of an offender and not where a person was charged with an offence. The Administrative Court had jurisdiction to deal with such a matter while criminal proceedings were ongoing, but the instant decision should not be taken as encouragement to challenge interlocutory decisions in criminal proceedings by judicial review.
The appellant’s conviction for wounding with intent was not rendered unsafe by the fact that he was tried in his absence. By absenting himself despite knowing of the trial date, he had waived his right to attend his trial, and he had been represented by competent counsel.
A conviction for sexual assault was quashed where evidence which supported the accused’s belief that his former wife had encouraged her sister to fabricate the allegations had not been before the jury. The fact that the accused’s former wife had not been called as a prosecution witness was irrelevant; the jury should have had opportunity to test that evidence.
A minimum term of 10 years’ imprisonment, equating to a determinate sentence of 20 years, imposed in respect of a life sentence following an offender’s conviction for historical offences of rape and indecent assault, was reduced to six years to reflect the principle of totality of sentence. The offender had previously been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for similar sexual offences committed close in time to the index offences, which effectively equated to a total sentence before reduction of 32 years.