Richard Littler QC and Anya Horwood successfully oppose appeal in R v Gabbana

November 10, 2020

Richard Littler QC and Anya Horwood have successfully opposed an appeal against conviction in the widely reported case of R v Gabbana.

The appellant was initially convicted for arranging and coordinating an execution killing of Bahman Faraji in 2011.

All four grounds of appeal were rejected following a full day hearing.

Ground 3 concerned Gateway F and correcting a false impression given by the Defendant. In interview he portrayed himself as a legitimate law-abiding man living off a sizeable compensation payment following a previous wrongful conviction for rape.

Banking evidence however suggested other non-legitimate criminal deposits. The question on appeal was whether the Trial Judge materially misdirected the jury when introducing the “potentially illegitimate lodgements” for the purposes of s101(1)(f), by failing to instruct them that they had to be sure they were illegitimate before going on to use them?

The Judicial College Compendium did not require this at the time of the trial for a Gateway F direction. Furthermore, all counsel at the trial in 2012 did not request such a direction. Mitchell [2016] UKSC 55, [2017] 1 Cr. App. R 9 supports the proposition that a “sure” direction is required but that the case was a Gateway D propensity case and therefore more understandable. With a Lucas direction, there is a criminal standard requirement on whether something said amounts to a lie before it can be used. The conclusion of this appeal was that irrespective of the Gateway, a Trial Judge should direct a jury to be “sure” about the evidence of bad character before going on to use it. However, Davis LJ rejected Ground 3 concluding the summing up was fair and the conviction was not unsafe given the evidence.

Davis LJ commented: “The Crown was represented by Mr Littler QC and Ms Horwood. Of counsel, only Ms Horwood had (as junior counsel for the prosecution) appeared at the trial. The arguments, written and oral, were presented with great care and in great detail to us, doubtless reflecting the perceived importance of this case to all concerned.”