Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED April 16, 2003

A murder conviction was safe where it relied on the conviction of the appellant's co-accused, which was based on evidence of an out of court admission that was not admissible against the appellant.Appeal against a murder conviction with leave of the Full Court. On 3 July 2001 the defendant ('H') and two co-accused ('B' and 'R') were convicted in the Central Criminal Court following a jury trial presided over by the Recorder of London. H was found to have been the middleman who organised for R to kill the deceased for B. The only evidence against H was circumstantial and his conviction relied on the prosecution establishing the respective client and hitman roles of B and R. H's sole ground of appeal was that the trial judge erred in finding that he had a case to answer since there was no evidence admissible against him to prove that R was the killer. H alleged that the only evidence on which R could be convicted was out of court admissions R had allegedly made.HELD: (1) Section 74(1) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 eliminated the basis of the reasoning in R v Spinks (1983) 1 All ER 587 and R v Rhodes 56 Cr App R 23, in which the prosecution was not allowed to rely on the conviction of co-accused where those convictions were based on admissions of the co-accused. (2) Under s.74(1), in the event of H being re-tried, the conviction of R would be admissible. In light of that, it would not be logical to prevent a jury from having regard to the conviction of R when considering the guilt of H. (3) Accordingly, H's conviction was safe.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 1048