Law Report: 14 January 1998; Appeal will only lie where conviction is unsafe
Wednesday 14 January 1998
Regina v Chalkley and anor; Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) (Lord Justice Auld, Mr Justice Ian Kennedy and Mr Justice Blofeld) 19 December 1997
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of Tony Michael Chalkley and Tony Brisbane McEwan Jeffries against their convictions on 30 October of conspiracy to rob, both men having changed their pleas to guilty after a ruling by the trial judge that the prosecution could adduce evidence of tape recorded conversations which were highly damaging to the defence case.
Timothy Cassell QC (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for Chalkley; Thomas Brown (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for Jeffries; Howard Morrison (Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown.
Lord Justice Auld said that the sole test in deciding an appeal against conviction under the new section 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, substituted by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, was whether the conviction was unsafe.
Section 2(1) in its old and new forms respectively entitled the Court of Appeal to quash as unsafe a conviction based on a plea of guilty where the plea was mistaken or uninformed or without intention to admit the truth of the offence charged. In the case of the old form it was commonly said that a conviction might also be quashed where the plea was "founded upon" a material irregularity, or, it was submitted for the appellants, an erroneous ruling on a point of law.
A plea of guilty could be said to be "founded upon" such a ruling where, once the error had been corrected on appeal, the appellant could not in law have been convicted of the offence charged on the admitted facts, or, on a broader interpretation, where the plea had been influenced by an erroneous ruling of law. That was the meaning urged upon the court on behalf of the appellants, and was that which the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords had apparently been content to apply, in the absence of the point being taken, in R v Khan (Sultan)  QB 27, CA and  3 WLR 162, HL.
However, the earlier authorities and three decisions of the Court of Appeal, R v Eriemo  2 Cr App R 206, R v Bachu (unreported, 18 November 1994) and R v Greene (unreported, 8 April 1997) demonstrated the logical imperative of the first, narrow, construction of the expression "founded upon". The good sense of preferring that narrow interpretation lingered on even with regard to the new test of safety of a conviction under the new section 2(1).
It had also been suggested that the appellants' pleas of guilty had been induced by oppression by the police in obtaining the evidence and that the circumstances of the ruling, taken as a whole, entitled the court to go behind their pleas. Such a suggestion necessitated a return to the removal of the word "unsatisfactory" from section 2(1) of the 1968 Act as a ground of appeal against conviction.
Whatever might have been the use by the court of the former tests of unsatisfactoriness and material irregularity, they were not available to it now, save as thought processes leading to a decision on the safety of the conviction. The court had no power under the substituted section 2(1) to allow an appeal if it did not think the conviction unsafe but was dissatisfied in some way with what had gone on at the trial.
- Kate O'Hanlon, Barrister
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...