Attorney General of Hong Kong v Yip Kai Foon: PC 7 Dec 1987

High Court of Hong Kong – The prosecutor appealed against a quashing of a conviction on a charge of handling stolen goods. The defendant had been charged with robbery with handling as an alternative provided under statute.
Held: Where there are true alternative charges of re;lated offences, a jury must acquit on both charges unless one or the other can be proved beyond reasonable doubt to the exclusion of the other.
Lord Ackner said: ‘In their Lordships’ opinion the trial judge, but for the injection into his summing up of the passage quoted above from Chan Tat v R [1973] HKLR 114 at 119, directed the jury quite properly as to the way in which they should approach a count of robbery and the alternative offence of handling. The jury were required to approach the matter by two stages. First, they had to ask themselves whether they were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent was guilty of robbery. This would involve rejecting the respondent’s evidence and then being satisfied, so that they felt sure, that the ballistic evidence linked the respondent with the robberies or either of them. If they were not so satisfied, they would then proceed to the second stage, and ask themselves whether the prosecution had satisfied them in relation to each of the ingredients of the alternative offences of handling, which the judge had spelt out with great clarity. Of course, if less than a majority were in favour of convictions of robbery and less than a majority in favour of convictions of handling, then the judge would have to discharge the jury and order a new trial. This case gave rise to no special difficulty or complication.’

Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Ackner, Lord Oliver of Aylmerton, Sir John Stephenson, Sir Edward Eveleigh
[1987] UKPC 35, [1987] UKPC 4, [1988] 1 All ER 15, (1988) 86 Cr App R 368, [1988] AC 642, [1988] 2 WLR 326
Bailii, Bailii
England and Wales
CitedRegina v James Langmead CCCR 1864
The defendant was indicted and tried at Devon Quarter Sessions on two counts, the first count for stealing and the second count for feloniously receiving a number of sheep, the property of Mr. Glanfield, a neighbouring farmer of the Parish of . .
CitedAndrea Obonyo v Regina 1962
East Africa ‘When a person is charged with theft [and the judge told the jury that they could read for ‘theft’, ‘robbery’ because it includes ‘theft’] and, in the alternative, with receiving, and the sole evidence connecting him with the offences is . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.443481