Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED November 17, 2003

Where a defendant faced several counts of sexual offences on the same victim, the jury's verdicts could not be said to be inconsistent where it had convicted the defendant on the only count that had supporting evidence.Appeal, with leave of the single judge, against conviction for indecent assault on a male imposed on 14 July 2003 at Winchester Crown Court. The defendant ('D') was sentenced by HH Judge Brodrick to three years' imprisonment. D was acquitted of seven counts of other sexual offences, all the counts were specimen counts. D was employed as a care assistant at a college where the victim ('V'), who suffered athetoid cerebral palsy, was a student. V's family arranged for D to act as a private carer outside college. The family and D attended a sports conference, staying in a hotel where D and V shared a twin room. V's mother noticed one of the beds had not been slept in and questioned V. V said that over a six month period D had committed various sex acts with him including buggery. The offences had occurred at various locations including D's home and the hotel. D was arrested and denied all the allegations, he said V had developed a crush on him and made sexual advances which he rejected. The allegations were made out of spite. The only supporting evidence was from D's flat mate, who gave evidence of things he had seen happen between D and V when V stayed at D's flat and of his concerns about the relationship. That was the only count on which D was convicted. Following the jury's verdicts the judge stated that anyone seeking an explanation of the verdicts would find it in the evidence of D's flat mate. D appealed conviction on the ground that the jury's verdicts were inconsistent, the offences either stood together or fell together.HELD: (1) The circumstances in which the court would quash a conviction were where the verdicts were logically inconsistent and, if they were, whether it was not possible to postulate a legitimate chain of reasoning. There was no necessary inconsistency where there were different counts all based on the same witness, whose credibility was in issue, the jury could accept some and reject others. (2) The judge correctly directed the jury that they could accept some evidence and reject other evidence. He reminded them of the supporting evidence and how the medical evidence did not support the allegations of rape. The count D was convicted of had the most support and the verdicts of the jury could not be said to be inconsistent. Great importance could be attached to the judge's view of the evidence of the flat mate.Appeal dismissed.