Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED January 24, 2003

Where a witness has been found unreliable his testimony must be corroborated by independent evidence.Defendant's ('M') appeal against a conviction for attempted robbery. The offence occurred when four men attempted to rob the victim ('P') after she had withdrawn staff salaries from her bank. M was alleged to have provided the robbers with critical information that had enabled them plan their attack on P. In corroboration, a police informant ('J') testified: (i) that M and P had had a long-standing friendship; (ii) by virtue of their friendship M was aware of and had passed on personal information about P to the robbers. J had also provided information in relation to three other offences allegedly involving M. J had previously committed 1,510 offences including armed robberies, burglaries and theft. Furthermore, he had proved himself to be unreliable on many occasions. Because the case against M rested on J's evidence, the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the court to alay concerns regarding the safety of M's conviction.HELD: (1) The jury's verdicts reflected their awareness of the possible dangers inherent in relying on J's testimony in the absence of other supporting evidence. (2) The question the jury had asked itself was whether in the light of events since the verdict was returned, M's conviction remained safe. (3) The conviction was safe because the evidence and independent support for it remained unimpugned.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 27