Several defendants had been convicted of various offences relating to the importation of substantial volumes of cocaine, and its manufacture into crack cocaine, and money-laundering offences. The first defendant appealed her conviction for having been involved in a conspiracy to courier the drugs. The principle evidence was a call lasting only three minutes in whch she booked a flight. Her defence was that any such call would take at least 10 minutes, and that she had not made such a call.
Held: The judge’s direction to the jury not to speculate risked withholding the defendant’s defence from them, and he might have avoided his sarcasm, but the result came within his range of discretion and may have been generous to her, but was insufficient to dispell his earlier comments which undermined the defence, and the appeal was allowed. Another defendant claimed to have had no knowledge of the conpiracy. A prison escort officer had overheard a conversation in which a leading conspirator had confessed tat he had not told her what was happening. The evidence was reliable, was admitted, and the conviction set aside.
Laws LJ, Penry-Davey J, Recorder of Chester
 EWCA Crim 2
England and Wales
Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.248244