Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2005] All ER (D) 330 (Apr)
Court: Court of Appeal, Criminal Division

Auld LJ, Royce and Christopher Clarke JJ

Representation Patrick Cosgrove QC (assigned by the Registrar for Criminal Appeals) for the first defendant.
  Simon Bourne-Arton QC (assigned by the Registrar for Criminal Appeals) for the second defendant.
  Brendan Finucane QC (assigned by the Registrar for Criminal Appeals) for the third defendant.
  Jeremy Gold QC (instructed by the Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office) for the Crown.
Judgment Dates: 22 April 2005


Criminal evidence and procedure - Trial - Fairness - Prejudicial evidence - Judge's refusal to discharge jury - Judge's refusal to order separate trials - Convictions unsafe.

The Case

In the circumstances of the instant case the potential for injustice for three defendants had been so great that, realistically, it had been incapable of judicial mitigation, however strong or emphatic the direction to the jury in respect of the correct approach to the evidence. Evidence of one of the defendant's activities as an informant, and prejudicial evidence that had emerged as a result of the revelation and late disclosure of details of his reliability as such, had resulted in an unfair trial that could, and should, have been aborted by discharging the jury and directing that the second defendant had a separate trial. The convictions for being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of Class A drugs would be quashed and retrials ordered

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