Although a judge had unnecessarily and improperly intervened during a defendant’s examination-in-chief, the interventions were not so significant as to materially impair the defendant’s ability to put his case before the jury. The judge’s interventions, combined with deficiencies in his summing-up, had not deprived the defendant of a fair trial.
A 16-year extended sentence for the rape of an ex-partner was neither manifestly excessive nor wrong in principle where the judge had been entitled to conclude that the offender was dangerous and a post-sentence report documented no change in mentality. There could also be no proper complaint about a concurrent 12-year sentence imposed for a second count of rape against the same victim.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission had no standing to seek a declaration that abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with ECHR art.3 and art.8 because it had not instituted proceedings by identifying any unlawful act or any actual or potential victim. Although the Supreme Court therefore had no jurisdiction to make a declaration of incompatibility, it considered that the current law was disproportionate and incompatible with art.8 insofar as it prohibited abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and where pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
A prosecutor’s decision not to charge a man with the rape of a woman with learning difficulties was not irrational. The circumstances of the man’s acquittal some years earlier on charges of sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice were such that the prosecutor had been right to conclude that the man would be able to establish that a second prosecution was an abuse of process.
Evidence of a step-father’s controlling behaviour towards his wife and step-son had been relevant evidence at his trial for 16 sexual offences against his step-daughter, as his defence was that his step-daughter was lying and exaggerating his controlling behaviour and the evidence was relevant to the issue of her credibility. A total sentence of 22 years’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.