Where the admission of hearsay evidence of a person who had died was sought under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.116(2)(a), in the proviso in s.116(5), that if the circumstances (namely that person’s death) were caused “(a) by the person in support of whose case it is sought to give the statement…” [then the evidence would be inadmissible], “person” meant the defendant or somebody acting on his behalf, not the deceased person.
A conviction for sexual assault was safe, even though a central piece of evidence for the prosecution was the hearsay statement of the two-and-a-half-year-old victim. The statement had properly been admitted under the Criminal Justice (Evidence) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 art.18(1)(d) and the judge had given appropriate directions to the jury about how it was to be treated.
Convictions for child cruelty and assault occasioning actual bodily harm were unsafe where a judge had failed to properly instruct the jury in terms of the particulars of the offence of cruelty which alleged cruelty and humiliation conjunctively, and had allowed evidence to be cross-admissible in respect of the offence of assault without giving a tailored and qualified direction in that respect.
During an appeal against a murder conviction, the prosecution was not allowed to adduce fresh evidence of a conversation the offender had had in a welfare visit with his case manager after his conviction, in which the prosecution considered he had admitted to the murder. Although such conversations were not subject to legal privilege, it would be contrary to public policy to breach the confidentiality of such discussions save for very good reason.
At a trial for conspiracy to defraud by dishonestly making a false representation, it had not been necessary for a judge to exclude under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 s.78 evidence of a co-accused’s guilty plea that had been admitted under s.74. Whilst the evidence raised difficulties for the defence on the issue of the genuineness of a purportedly forged will, it did not have a similar impact upon the other issues which the jury had to resolve and, overall, its introduction was not unfair.