A judge had been entitled to refuse severance of an indictment, meaning that an offender was tried for historic and recent counts of child sexual offences at the same time. The Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 r.3.21(4)(a) had removed the technical barriers to joinder in appropriate cases: where evidence on one count would be properly admissible on the other as evidence of bad character it was hard to argue that the offender would be prejudiced in his defence by having both counts on the same indictment. In the instant case, the recent counts would have been admissible as bad character evidence at the offender’s trial on the historic counts and vice versa.
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.
When giving evidence in defence of charges of conspiring to sell or transfer prohibited weapons and conspiring to possess ammunition, the appellant had sought to create a false impression of his credibility. The trial judge had therefore been justified in allowing the prosecution to adduce bad-character evidence in rebuttal. Further, such evidence had been kept within proper limits.
Convictions for sexual offences were safe despite the fact that material about the complainant had not been disclosed to the defence, because the picture of the complainant put before the jury was nevertheless a sufficiently accurate one.
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.