Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED November 10, 2003

In the circumstances there had been no breach of the then relevant Code D2.3 where an unmasked identification parade was held. The judge was right to admit identification evidence as he had clearly considered the extent to which hearsay formed the basis of the witness' evidence.Appeal, with leave of the full court, against convictions for murder imposed at Manchester Crown Court on 7 June 2001. The defendants ('H' and 'G') were sentenced by HH Judge Sir Rhys Davies QC to life imprisonment. The victim ('V') was shot dead outside his home by two men wearing balaclavas, one carrying a machine gun and the other a hand gun. The men left in a light metallic Ford Focus car. The defendants denied being involved saying they had been elsewhere. A few days before the murder a garage was burgled and two cars, one of which was a green metallic Ford Focus, professional tools and a mobile phone were taken. About 45 minutes before the murder, whilst V was waiting to cross a road, a car pulled up and a man got out and threatened him with a meat cleaver. G and H were arrested and denied any involvement. G further denied being the man who confronted V with the meat cleaver. Following searches of G and H's property balaclavas, gloves and items taken from the garage were discovered and witnesses identified the metallic car as being parked near H's home. The car was later found abandoned with false number plates. Scientific evidence connected the defendants with the car. V's partner, ('S'), who had known G for eight years, gave a witness statement to police setting out the background of her knowledge on G and what she had been told G had done by V. Sometime later an unmasked identity parade was held and S identified G, she said she immediately knew it was him mainly because of what had happened before the murder. An application was made to exclude S's evidence on identification as it was based on hearsay, the judge refused. At trial S gave evidence that she recognised G because he had made eye contact for a couple of seconds and she recognised his build and way of moving. In evidence G admitted that he had been the person to confront V with a meat cleaver. G and H appealed the convictions as unsafe on the grounds that: (i) there had been a breach of Code D2.3 regarding the holding of the identity parade, all participants should have been wearing balaclavas; and (ii) evidence of the identification given by S was based on hearsay and should not have been admitted.HELD: (1) The obligation under the then relevant Code was to hold a meaningful parade. When the parade was held there was sound reason to hold an unmasked parade as at that time G had been denying the incident with the meat cleaver. On the other hand there was no reason to hold a masked parade as S had not said she based identification solely on G's eyes but also on his height and build. In those circumstances it was impossible to contend there had been a breach of the Codes. (2) When the ruling on the voire dire was read it was clear the judge had at the forefront of his mind the extent to which hearsay formed the basis of S's identification evidence. It was clear that the judge believed her evidence that she recognised G and he was therefore fully entitled to rule as he did.Appeals dismissed