Suggested Reading : Three authorities for Criminal Lawyers

Kerim Fuad KC, Head of Chambers, and Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Group suggest three recent authorities to be read and considered by Criminal practitioners.


R v Horne [2020] EWCA Crim 487

Key words : conspiracy, admission of guilty pleas

Bailli Link:

This appeal against conviction concerned the admissibility of the guilty plea of one of two alleged co-conspirators in a closed conspiracy. The court found that it may be proper for a plea of a single co-conspirator in a closed conspiracy to be excluded under section 78 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 on the grounds that its admission would have such an adverse effect upon the fairness of the proceedings. The Trial Judge was regrettably not taken to R v Derk Nathan Smith [2007] EWCA Crim 2105 which remains good authority in this area.


R v DS [2020] EWCA Crim 285

Key words : abuse of Process; defendant victim of modern day slavery

Baili Link:

The jurisdiction to stay proceedings as an abuse of the process of the court is an important, but limited, power of a criminal court. It should not be widened in scope to meet particular needs unless there is a very clear reason for doing so. The result of the enactment of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the section 45 statutory defence is that the responsibility for deciding the facts relevant to the status of a defendant as a Victim of Trafficking is unquestionably that of the jury. Formerly, there was a lacuna in that regard, which the courts sought to fill by expanding somewhat the notion of abuse of process, which required the Judge to make relevant decisions of fact. That is no longer necessary, and cases to which the Modern Slavery Act 2015 applies should proceed on the basis that they will be stayed if, but only if, an abuse of process as conventionally defined is found.


R v Donnelly [2020] EWCA CRIM 417

Key words :  causation, murder

Baili link: on lawtel

There may, in any case, be more than one cause of death and it is not necessary for injuries inflicted by a defendant to be the sole or even the main cause of death. The Trial Judge had adopted the approach set out by Goff J in Pagett (1983) 76 Cr App R 279, at 288:  “… where it is necessary to direct the jury’s mind to causation, it is usually enough to direct them simply that in law the accused’s act need not be the sole cause, or even the main cause, of the victim’s death, it being enough that his act contributed significantly to that result”. This (legally) interesting case discussed the issues surrounding increasing the risk of death and considering various experts opinion as to the cause and likelihood of death from injuries sustained as a result of alleged domestic abuse.

Published on April 9, 2020 by Kerim Fuad Kc and Colin Witcher

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