Brennan v Regina: CACD 21 Nov 2014

The defendant, then 22 had a history of disturbed childhood, sexual abuse and outpatient mental health treatment together with one instance when he was sectioned following a suicide attempt. On the undisputed psychiatric evidence he suffered from a schizotypal disorder as well as an emotionally unstable personality disorder. He was obsessed with witchcraft and Satanist killings. He was also depressed. He had planned and executed the ritualistic killing of a client whom he had served as a male prostitute. He left notes of what he planned to do, and after killing the man with one or more knives, had scored his back and painted or written on the walls symbols such as a pentagram and references to Satan and to Krishna, before cleaning himself up and going to the police station to report what he had done. He was treated by the police as needing an appropriate adult to attend his interviews, and told that person that he had been having thoughts of killing somebody (apparently anybody) for several weeks. At trial the only issue was newly amended defence of diminished responsibility.
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘The problem that a case of this kind throws up derives from the fact that there are two relevant but potentially conflicting principles that are brought into play. The first principle is the general principle that in criminal trials cases are decided by juries, not by experts. Indeed experts are permitted by reason of their expertise to express opinions by way of evidence: but cases ultimately fall to be decided by juries, and they decide on the entirety of the evidence. The second principle, however, is that juries must base their conclusions on the evidence. ‘
The intention of the 2009had been to bring closer together the legal and medical interpretations applicable in diminished responsibility cases, and therefore the weight of expert medical evidence was even greater.
Davis LJ, King J, Stokes QC Rec Nottingham
[2014] EWCA Crim 2387, [2015] Crim LR 290, [2014] WLR(D) 502, [2015] 1 Cr App R 14, [2015] 1 WLR 2060
Bailii, WLRD
Homicide Act 1957 2, Coroners and Justice Act 2009 52
England and Wales
CitedRegina v Lanfear CACD 1968
A jury is not bound uncritically to accept unchallenged expert evidence. . .
CitedAnderson v The Queen PC 13-Jul-1971
(Jamaica) A appealed his conviction of murder. Juries are not free, on the other hand, uncritically to reject unchallenged expert evidence on a matter calling for scientific expertise. . .
CitedRegina v Ramchurn CACD 2-Feb-2010
The defendant had planned and executed the killing of his wife’s lover, a cousin, having given him a home. He threatened that he would kill him, and prepared to do so, trying to get keys to gain access to the victim’s home, and when that failed . .
CitedRegina v Brown CACD 1-Dec-2011
The defendant appealed against a sentence of twenty four years imposed on his convictions for manslaughter and obstructing the coroner. . .
CitedRegina v Lanfear CACD 1968
A jury is not bound uncritically to accept unchallenged expert evidence. . .
CitedGolds, Regina v CACD 2-May-2014
The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder, sayng that the jury had been wrongly directed as to the meaning of ‘substantial impairent when considering the alternative of manslaughter . .
CitedRegina v Galbraith CCA 1981
Rejection of Submission of No Case to Answer
The defendant had faced a charge of affray. The court having rejected his submission of having no case to answer, he had made an exculpatory statement from the dock. He appealed against his conviction.
Held: Lord Lane LCJ said: ‘How then . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 March 2021; Ref: scu.539454