Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED February 19, 2003

Appeal dismissed where black defendants had contended that their convictions were unsafe because they had been tried by an all-white jury.Defendants' appeals against conviction for: (i) grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of a firearm with intent; and (ii) theft and driving while disqualified. The first defendant ('S') was convicted of the offences in (i) above and received an 8-year custodial sentence. The second defendant, ('R'), was convicted of the offences in (ii) above and received a 5-year custodial sentence. The charges against S and R arose out of violence outside a nightclub that had been preceded by a racist incident in the club earlier on. Following the incident, the victim, ('W'), had allegedly followed the defendants outside with aggressive intent and a readiness to start a fight. In the ensuing altercation S struck W with the butt of a hand gun. W suffered a depressed fracture of the skull, bruising to his right thigh and a cut to his ear. S contended that: (a) the convictions were unsafe because although he was a black man he had been tried by an all-white jury who could not empathise with the racial dimensions within the case; and (b) since his trial was unfair, he had been deprived of his right to a fair trial as provided by Art.6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.HELD: (1) The convictions remained safe because violence outside a nightclub was a common situation which the jury could relate to; the jurors' colour was not a factor. (2) The appeal was an inappropriate vehicle to consider better ways of deciding eligibility for jury service. (3) Failure to take into account the events preceding the attack, namely W's aggressive intent, meant that the defendants' sentences would each be reduced by one year.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 283