West Law Report

Avoiding unnecessary trips to the Court of Appeal

Posted in Times Law Report by mrkooenglish on November 21, 2008

From The Times
November 14, 2008
Avoiding unnecessary trips to the Court of Appeal

Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Published November 14, 2008

Regina v Stringfellow

Where the clerk of a crown court went wrong when he was taking the vote of the jury, it was better for counsel to interrupt and ask the clerk to start again, to avoid unnecessary excursions to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal, Criminal Division (Lord Justice Moses, Mr Justice Tugendhat and Judge Gilbert) so stated on October 6, 2008, when dismissing the appeal by David Stringfellow against his conviction on July 13, 2006, at Snaresbrook Crown Court (Judge Birts, QC and a jury) of one count of conspiracy to supply cocaine, a controlled class A drug, contrary to section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

LORD JUSTICE MOSES said that the correct procedure set out in Part IV of Practice Direction (Criminal proceedings: Consolidation) ([2002] 1 WLR 2870, 2903-2904) had to be followed at the tense moment when the verdict was given in order to avoid having to determine on appeal whether the jury had convicted the appellant by a majority or unanimously.

In the instant case, the transcript had been inaccurate and the clerk had failed to follow the correct procedure.

The Court of Appeal emphasised that where the clerk went wrong in the tension of the moment when taking the vote, it was better for counsel to interrupt to ask the clerk to start again. In the present case, the court was satisfied that the verdict had been unanimous.

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