Coutts, Regina v: CACD 21 Jan 2005

The defendant appealed his conviction for murder, saying that the judge should have left to the jury the alternative conviction for manslaughter. The victim had died through strangulation during a sexual assault by the defendant. He said it had not been his intention to kill her.
Held: The judge need not leave an alternative verdict where it would be inconsistent with the case presented by the prosecution, and would be likely only to cause confusion among the jurors. The judge had left the defence as one of accident. It would have been unfair to allow a case not presented by the prosecution. Allowing the alternative charge would have complicated the jury’s task without enhancing the justice of the case.


Lordf Woolf LCJ, Cresswell, Simon JJ


[2005] EWCA Crim 52, Times 26-Jan-2005, [2005] 1 WLR 1605




England and Wales


CitedRegina v Emmett CACD 18-Jun-1999
The defendant appealed against conviction after being involved in sexual activity which he said was not intended to cause harm, and were said to be consensual, but clearly did risk harm. On the first occasion he tied a plastic bag over the head of . .
CitedHunter, Moodie v The Queen PC 8-Oct-2003
PC (Jamaica) The defendants appealed against their convictions for capital murder.
Held: The appeals were allowed, and non-capital convictions substituted. It is not enough to comply with section 2(2), for . .
CitedAlexander Von Starck v The Queen PC 28-Feb-2000
(Jamaica) The defendant had fatally stabbed a woman. On arrest, he admitted killing her and that he had the knife which he had used to do so. He gave the police officer a pouch containing a knife, on which blood of the same group as that of the . .
CitedGilbert v The Queen 23-Mar-2000
Austlii (High Court of Australia) The appellant, his brother and another were charged with murder. The appellant had driven the victim, and the others to a remote place where the fatal assault occurred. The . .
CitedShaw and Campbell, Regina v CANI 8-Jun-2001
The defendant appealed his conviction for murder saying the judge should have left the alternative charge of having assisted offenders to the jury.
Held: Referring to Fairbanks: ‘It was argued on behalf of the Crown that this test was not . .
CitedRegina v Maxwell CACD 1988
The defendant admitted paying two others to burgle his partner’s home, but said he had not anticipated violence, and appealed against his conviction for robbery, saying the judge should have left the alternative verdict to the jury. The jury, during . .
CitedRegina v Fairbanks CACD 1986
The defendant complained that the judge had not left an alternate verdict of careless driving to the jury where he had been charged with driving a motor vehicle on the road recklessly.
Held: The conviction was quashed.
Mustill LJ said: . .
CitedRegina v Maxwell HL 1990
The defendant had hired two men to enter his former partner’s house to commit robbery. It was his defence that he did not contemplate violence, and that he was only guilty of the offence of burglary. The prosecution would not add a count of burglary . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromRegina v Coutts HL 19-Jul-2006
The defendant was convicted of murder. Evidence during the trial suggested a possibility of manslaughter, but neither the defence nor prosecution proposed the alternate verdict. The defendant now appealed saying that the judge had an independent . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 29 June 2022; Ref: scu.222088