(Hong Kong) The defendant was charged with aiding and abetting a murder. A, carrying a length of water pipe and accompanied by the defendant and four other youths, seized a man and A hit him with the pipe, causing injuries from which he died. No witness saw the defendant hit the man, who was an innocent victim, or play any particular part in the assault. A was charged with murder, with three of the group. Two pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other was acquitted. The jury acquitted A of murder but convicted him of manslaughter. The defendant was later indicted for murder with another youth whose plea of guilty to manslaughter was accepted. The defendant refused an offer by the prosecution to accept a plea of guilty to manslaughter. He was prosecuted for murder as a party to a joint enterprise in which A had murdered the victim. The judge did not admit evidence of A’s acquittal of murder and conviction of manslaughter only. The defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
Held: The conviction or acquittal of the principle was both irrelevant and inadmissible. A conviction for an aider and abettor was not dependent upon a conviction of the principal offender. In general, an acquittal upon a different charge in an earlier trial is irrelevant to the issues before the court in the second trial.
Lord Griffiths said: ‘Their Lordships are of the view that the more recent English cases established that the rejection of an improperly obtained confession is not dependent only upon possible unreliability but also upon the principle that a man cannot be compelled to incriminate himself and upon the importance that attaches in a civilised society to proper behaviour by the police towards those in their custody. All three of these factors have combined to produce the rule of law applicable in Hong Kong as well as in England that a confession is not admissible in evidence unless the prosecution establish that it was voluntary.’
Lord Lowry: ‘a serious anomaly’ had occurred but the prosecution of the defendant for murder rather than manslaughter was not so unfair or wrong as to constitute an abuse of process. There was ample evidence to support the defendant’s conviction. ‘Provided the case was conducted with propriety, it is difficult to see how the judge could properly have intervened to prevent counsel from seeking or the jury from returning a verdict which was justified by the evidence. The other answer is that, if it was not an abuse to indict and prosecute for murder, it could scarcely be an abuse to seek a verdict which was justified by the evidence.
Lord Griffiths, Lord Lowry
 1 AC 34,  3 All ER 897,  3 WLR 495, Gazette 02-Oct-1992,  UKPC 29, (1991) 94 Cr App R 236
England and Wales
Explained – Chan Wing-Siu v The Queen PC 21-Jun-1984
The appellant and co-accused were charged with murder. They said they had gone to meet the deceased to collect a debt, but had been attacked with a knife by the deceased. Two of the three had knives and knew of the other knife.
Held: All were . .
Approved – Regina v Hyde, Sussex, Collins CACD 1990
Lord Lane CJ restated the principle underlying the responsibility of a secondary partner in a joint enterprise: ‘If B realises (without agreeing to such conduct being used) that A may kill or intentionally inflict serious injury, but nevertheless . .
Cited – Regina v Andrews-Weatherfoil Ltd CACD 1972
For so long as it is possible for persons concerned in a single offence to be tried separately, it is inevitable that the verdicts returned by the two juries will on occasion appear to be inconsistent with one another. Eveleigh J: ‘It is necessary . .
Cited – Director of Public Prosecutions v Humphrys HL 1977
Humphrys was charged with driving while disqualified. The issue was the correctness of the identification by a police constable. In evidence, Humphrys denied that he was the driver, or indeed that he had driven any car during the year in question. . .
Cited – Regina v Powell (Anthony) and Another; Regina v English HL 30-Oct-1997
When the court looked at the issue of foreseeability of murder in an allegation of joint enterprise, there was no requirement to show intent by the secondary party. The forseeability of the risk of the principal committing the offence from the point . .
Cited – Hasan, Regina v HL 17-Mar-2005
The House was asked two questions: the meaning of ‘confession’ for the purposes of section 76(1) of the 1984 Act, and as to the defence of duress. The defendant had been involved in burglary, being told his family would be harmed if he refused. The . .
Cited – Regina v Mushtaq HL 21-Apr-2005
The defendant was convicted of fraud charges. He sought to have excluded statements made in interview on the basis that they had been obtained by oppressive behaviour by the police. His wife was very seriously ill in hospital and he had made the . .
Cited – Petch and Coleman v Regina CACD 13-Jul-2005
The defendants appealed their convictions for murder, saying that a co-defendant, have been captured after fleeing the country had later been treated more leniently, a plea of manslaughter having been accepted.
Held: In order to substitute . .
Cited – A and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) HL 8-Dec-2005
The applicants had been detained following the issue of certificates issued by the respondent that they posed a terrorist threat. They challenged the decisions of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission saying that evidence underlying the . .
Cited – Regina v Hertfordshire County Council, ex parte Green Environmental Industries Ltd and Another HL 17-Feb-2000
A notice was given to the holder of a waste disposal licence to require certain information to be provided on pain of prosecution. The provision of such information could also then be evidence against the provider of the commission of a criminal . .
Cited – Regina v Robinson CACD 23-Mar-2011
Earlier Acquittal not for mention on retrial
The defendant appealed against several convictions for serious ‘historic’ sex abuse. He said that there was insufficient evidence before the court to decide that the complainant had been under 14 at the time, and that any consent was vitiated. He . .
Cited – Jogee and Ruddock (Jamaica) v The Queen SC 18-Feb-2016
Joint Enterprise Murder
The two defendants appealed against their convictions (one in Jamaica) for murder, under the law of joint enterprise. Each had been an accessory when their accomplice killed a victim with a knife. The judge in Jogee had directed the jury that he . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Criminal Practice, Evidence, Crime
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.179868