Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 30, 2003

The Privy Council dismissed appeals against convictions for murder rejecting all the grounds of appeal which included alleged misdirections by the judge in relation to the law of joint enterprise, identification, fingerprint evidence, a spontaneous statement by the deceased and the standard of proof.Appeals from the dismissal by the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago of applications for leave to appeal against convictions for murder and imposition of the mandatory death sentence. The victims ('CJ and DO') were murdered in July 1996. CJ's mother ('JJ') who lived in the same house, gave evidence that CJ and DO were taken from the house by the appellants ('IB and EI'), at night. A neighbour ('FD'), also saw the abduction. Later he heard shots. The following morning the bodies of CJ and DO were found about a hundred yards from the house. IB and EI were found and arrested about a month later and were identified by JJ and FD as people they knew. At trial IB and EI relied on alibis. The jury did not believe them and they were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The Court of Appeal refused their applications for leave to appeal. On appeal to the Privy Council IB and EI put forward a number of separate grounds of appeal against conviction, not all of which were raised in the Court of Appeal, concerning: (i) the judge's directions on the law of joint enterprise; (ii) identification; (iii) fingerprint evidence; (iv) a spontaneous statement made by CJ as she was being abducted; and (v) the standard of proof. In relation to joint enterprise the judge directed the jury that the essence of joint responsibility was that each accused shared a common intention to commit the offence and played his part in it, however great or small, so as to achieve that aim. IB and EI argued that the direction was defective because the judge had not related his statement of the law to the facts of the case and because he did not explain that if there was no common intention to murder, foresight that a murder might be committed was needed to convict the party who did not kill (R v (1) Anthony Powell (2) Daniels: R v Philip English (1999) 1 AC 1). The appeal against sentence was on the ground that the mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional.HELD: (1) The direction on joint enterprise was adequate in the circumstances. The case raised no difficult questions about the legal elements of murder. When the jury were told that joint enterprise meant a plan to commit the offence and that they had to be sure that the acts were done as part of an agreement to commit the offence, they must have understood that they had to be satisfied that the intentional killing which had obviously taken place was the result of the common intention of both accused. The behaviour from which such a common intention could be inferred was also clear. The judge was well advised not to invite the jury to speculate on what might have been the common intention of the accused if they had not planned to kill. It was sufficient to tell them that in order to convict there had to have been such a plan. There was no evidential basis for the existence of some other plan. In the circumstances it was right to instruct the jury simply that they must be satisfied that there was a common intention to murder. It would only have confused them to add that in some cases such an intention might be unnecessary because of the Powell and English extension. (2) The judge gave the jury sufficient guidance on identification in the context of a case in which the prosecution witnesses claimed the accused were people they knew. In the circumstances there was no need for an identification parade. The reality of the situation was that the possibility of mistake by two independent witnesses was very small indeed. (3) There was no misdirection on the fingerprint evidence, the spontaneous statement and the standard of proof. (4) The appeal against sentence was adjourned until after the Privy Council had given judgment in other proceedings on appeal from Trinidad raising the same issue.Appeal against conviction dismissed. Appeal against sentence adjourned.

[2003] UKPC 10