Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED September 19, 2003

An appeal against conviction for murder was dismissed as the judge had correctly directed the jury with regard to the appellant's previous conviction for a firearm offence related to the day of the murder.Appeal against conviction for murder at Sheffield Crown Court on 19 April 2000. The appellant ('S') had shot his ex-girlfriend ('V') with an assault rifle. He argued at trial that he had been suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the killing and that he had not intended to kill V or endanger her life or that he had been provoked. S was found guilty of murder after a second trial. At the first trial, the jury were unable to reach a verdict on murder but found S guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on the day of the murder. At the second trial, the judge directed the jury that S had been convicted of having the gun in his possession with the intention at some stage during that day of endangering life and that this verdict was binding on them. S appealed his conviction on the grounds that the judge had misdirected the jury: (i) as to the effect of the firearm conviction on his credibility which had an unfairly prejudicial effect on the issues of diminished responsibility and provocation; and (ii) that they were bound by the first jury's conviction of the firearm offence as to the state of S's mind at the time he killed V.HELD: (1) The judge dealt with the matter fairly, correctly identifying the precise charge of which the first jury convicted S and its relevance to the issue of S's intent when he set out to find V on the day he killed her. The prosecution's case and evidence as to intent at the material time was overwhelming. The firearm charge was not of a continuing offence but was confined to the day S killed V and clearly to the circumstances leading up to and connected with the shooting. (2) The judge did not misrepresent the effect of the firearm conviction. Nothing the judge said went to undermine S's account about the weapon or could have gone to his credibility on the issues of diminished responsibility or provocation. (3) The judge correctly directed the jury on the effect of the firearm verdict on them, namely that S had the rifle at some time on the day of the killing with intent to endanger someone's life, not necessarily V's. The judge did not tell the jury that the verdict was only binding on them if S did not prove to the contrary, as that was not what S sought to do. The judge had correctly directed the jury as to the relevance and limitations of the conviction.Appeal dismissed.

[2003] EWCA Crim 680