West Law Report

All prosecution to be heard

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on September 3, 2008

From The TimesAugust 25, 2008

All prosecution to be heard
Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Published August 25, 2008

Regina v N Ltd and Another

A trial judge could not assent to an application of no case to answer nor enter a verdict of not guilty before the close of the prosecution evidence without the clear consent of all the parties.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division (Lord Justice Hughes, Mr Justice Teare and Mr Justice Saunders) so held on June 10, 2008, when allowing an appeal by the prosecution under section 58 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 against the ruling of Judge Ainley at Croydon Crown Court on December 7, 2007, of no case to answer by the defendants, N Ltd and C Ltd.

LORD JUSTICE HUGHES said that when counsel for the Crown had not been asked whether he objected to the judge ruling before the close of the Crown’s evidence, after a two-day general discussion and before the jury had been sworn, the judge should not have ruled that there was no case to answer nor directed that verdicts of not guilty be entered.

In the court’s judgment, R v Galbraith ([1981] 1 WLR 1039) only gave the trial judge the power to review the evidence at the conclusion of the Crown’s case once it was known for certain what the evidence was or had been agreed to be and to rule as a matter of law that no jury properly directed could convict on that evidence.

Only then, if the judge concluded that there was no case on which the jury could properly convict, could he direct the jury to find the defendant not guilty.

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