Practice and Procedure

R v LEE GRANT (2003)

PUBLISHED August 12, 2003

A conviction for wounding with intent was inconsistent with the appellant's acquittal on two counts of aggravated burglary and the fact that no verdict had been returned on a count of affray.Appeal against conviction with leave of the single judge. On 2 July 2002 at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court before HH Judge Hodson, the appellant ('G') was convicted of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (count 3) on the basis of a sole read statement of the victim ('V'), who was in fear of giving evidence. G was acquitted on two counts of aggravated burglary (counts 1 and 5), and one count of affray was left on the file (count 2). G was sentenced to four years' imprisonment. G's co-accuseds ('T' and 'R') were both convicted on count 1. Count 2 related to events when the defendants had allegedly gone to V's house demanding to know where a drug dealer ('P') kept his drugs and money. Count 1 related to a subsequent aggravated burglary at P's home. Count 3 related to a stabbing when V attended P's house. Count 5 related to an aggravated burglary at V's home, in which he was again cut with a knife. In his witness statements, V had stated as follows: (i) regarding count 2, that he was aware that the defendants had a variety of weapons and that G had been holding a Samurai sword; (ii) regarding counts 1 and 3, that when he had driven to R's house to try to recover items taken in the burglary, G had stabbed him in the leg with a sword; and (iii) in relation to count 5, that while at home, he had woken up and seen that his other leg had also been cut and saw G and R in his home stealing items. On appeal, G argued that the verdict on count 3 was inconsistent with the verdict on counts 1 and 5, and inconsistent with the fact that there was no verdict on count 2. The Crown argued that the verdicts were not inconsistent as there was some medical evidence before jurors, whose job it was to do justice as between the parties, in respect of the wound that was consistent with the way V had described the wound being incurred.HELD: (1) This was a rare case where there was an inconsistency which lead to doubts as to the efficacy of the conviction on count 3. The jury had not had the benefit of hearing V giving evidence or assessing the veracity of evidence on cross-examination. (2) The prosecution case had rested on all three of the defendants being involved in all three of counts 1 to 3. The sole evidence against G was the evidence in the witness statements. (3) It was difficult to see how the jury could be not satisfied of guilt on count 2, but be sure of guilt on count 3. It was also difficult to see how G could be guilty on count 3 but not guilty on count 5.Appeal allowed. Retrial ordered.