Our criminal case summaries series continued – Disclosure

December 19, 2022

In the latest in a series of criminal case summaries, Zarreen Alam-Cheetham from Exchange Chambers examines the cases of Head [2022] EWCA Crim 1294

The defendant was an off-duty police officer who entered a taxi. The defendant’s case was that he had smelt cannabis inside the taxi, asked the complainant to pull over whilst he telephoned the police when an altercation ensued, and he subsequently acted in self-defence. He was convicted of ABH following a retrial as the jury were not in agreement. It was confirmed by the prosecution that there was nothing on the PNC to be disclosed. It was later discovered that the complainant was convicted of driving under the influence of cannabis and that this has been recorded on the PNC between the two trials.

The test to be applied in deciding whether a conviction was safe in cases where there is material that should have been disclosed is whether there is a real possibility that the jury would have arrived at a different verdict: McInnes v Her Majesty’s Advocate [2010] UKSC 7.

In the instant case, the conviction was quashed by the CA, having heard the fresh evidence (which would have been admissible under s.100(1)(b) CJA 2003 as non-defendant’s bad character of substantial probative value at trial).

In relation to the fact that the conviction took place after the date of the index incident, the CA stated that “it cannot, in our judgment, be said that it would be unreasonable speculation to infer that the complainant, intoxicated whilst driving in December 2020, was or may have been doing the same in August of 2018.” Per Warby LJ.