The balance of conflicting interests came down in favour of revealing very little of the reasoning which had persuaded the court to allow an appeal as a result of sensitive information.Appeal against conviction on 23 July 1996 of three offences: (i) possessing a firearm without a firearms certificate; (ii) possessing ammunition without a certificate; (iii) possessing heroin with intent to supply. The appellant ('G') was sentenced to a total of 14 years' imprisonment. His appeal against conviction was dismissed on 27 February 1998. The Criminal Cases Review Commission subsequently referred the conviction in light of new information on the intelligence report that led to the initial search of G's home. Substantial doubt had been cast on the integrity of then police officers who played an important part in intelligence gathering. The Crown had come to the conclusion that it could no longer be argued that the convictions were safe. The issues in the case were whether the appeal should be allowed and to what extent reasons should be given.HELD: (1) As was recognised in R v Doubtfire (2001) 2 CAR 209, there could be cases where the balance of conflicting interests came down in favour of revealing very little of the reasoning which had persuaded the court to allow an appeal. This was such a case. (2) The reasons for allowing the appeal had nothing to do with the conduct of the trial, the evidence given at the trial, or the propriety of the rulings made by the trial judge on the information then available. There was also nothing to cast doubt on the decision in the original appeal. (3) Had the information on the integrity of the ex-police officers in the case been available at the time it would have been laid before the trial judge and disclosure would, inevitably, have been ordered. In order to protect sources of information, either the Crown would have offered no evidence or the trial would have taken a different and unpredictable course.Appeal allowed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 1502

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