It was best practice for a judge to direct a jury before the cross-examination of a vulnerable witness that limitations had been placed on the defence counsel and to explain after the cross-examination the type of issues which the defendant would have wished to explore in further detail. Such directions should be repeated in the summing up.
To establish “possession” for the purposes of the offences of possessing indecent images of children or extreme pornographic images, the prosecution had to establish (a) that the images were within the accused’s custody or control so that he was capable of accessing them, and (b) that he had known that he possessed images. Where unsolicited images were sent to the accused by the messaging application “WhatsApp” and automatically downloaded to his phone’s memory, it was highly likely that (a) would be made out; whether (b) was made out would depend on whether he knew he had received images.
A conviction for possession of a Class A controlled drug with intent to supply was safe despite deficiencies in jury directions relating to the contents of hearsay text messages as the prosecution had been able to rely on fingerprint evidence and admitted evidence of bad character.
Material relevant to demonstrating the mindset of those convicted of encouraging support for a proscribed organisation was admissible at trial in order to allow the jury to consider the appellants’ actual views and their willingness to express violent Jihadi views to others. Since none of the material was the subject of any allegation against an appellant, its relevance had been properly explained in jury directions and the defence’s case had been properly set out, there was no possibility of improper or prejudicial use being made of the evidence.
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.