Practice and Procedure

R v IDORAN UTIP (2003)

PUBLISHED April 11, 2003

Where a defendant had been assessed as fit to be interviewed by a psychiatrist and had his interests protected by an appropriate adult and solicitor there was no unfairness in allowing evidence of the interview to go before the jury. His conviction was therefore safe.Appeal against conviction with leave of the single judge. On 22 June 2001 at Wood Green Crown Court before HH Judge Gerber the defendant ('D') was convicted of false imprisonment, attempted rape, rape and indecent assault. D was sentenced on 7 September 2002 to life imprisonment. The victim ('V') was an Australian backpacker who was working in the UK. D initially met V in a club. They subsequently phoned each other and met again. From 10 July to 12 July D detained V at his home where he raped and indecently assaulted her. D stated that any sex acts were consensual, the indecent assault had not happened and there was no penile penetration as he was impotent. After D was arrested he was attended, at the police station, by an appropriate adult pursuant to the codes of practice. She suggested D ought to be examined by a psychiatrist before being interviewed. The psychiatrist stated that D was calm and did not appear to hold any delusional beliefs. His behaviour was, at times, somewhat bizarre but he was alert and orientated and was fit to be interviewed. At interview D put forward a version of events inconsistent with guilt but different from the evidence later put forward at trial. At trial D sought to exclude the evidence of the police interview under s.78 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, contending that: (i) the nature of the interview would have had an unfair effect on the procedure; and (ii) it was likely that at the time of the interview D was suffering from an acute mental illness and any misleading answers given were as a result of the illness rather than from any desire to deceive. The judge heard evidence from the appropriate adult and psychiatrist and then considered the content of the interview. He concluded that the admission of the interview was not likely to lead to any unfairness. D appealed on the ground that a proper application of the judge's duty under s.78 of the 1984 Act required the evidence to be excluded.HELD: (1) The law recognised problems people faced when suffering from mental illness and there were measures to protect such people. The law required that where there were grounds to suspect mental illness a defendant should be examined by a doctor to establish whether he was fit for interview. A psychiatrist had examined D and felt that he was fit to be interviewed. When cross-examined at the voir dire he indicated that D was suffering from some sort of mental illness and could give answers that were untrue. It was significant that no evidence on behalf of D, from any doctor, was called to challenge the evidence of the psychiatrist that he was fit to be interviewed. (2) D's interests had been protected, an appropriate adult had been present at interview and D also had a solicitor. Neither the solicitor nor the appropriate adult thought anything was unfair and there were no representations to stop the interview. (3) Further protection came from the fact the court would look at the content of the interview. D had put forward a coherent account with no contradictions. He did give some strange answers but none of those were such that the judge should have intervened. It was open to the defence to call evidence about the exact state of D and ask the jury to take it into account and they chose not to do so. (4) There was nothing at all in the judge's decision that could be criticised. The conviction was safe.Appeal dismissed.