Mason, Wood, McClelland, Tierney v Regina: CACD 13 Feb 2002

The appellants appealed their convictions on two grounds. First the judge who had heard the case was an acquaintance of the chief constable of the investigating force, and second evidence had been admitted of tape recordings of non-privileged conversations between defendants whilst in the police station. The Chief Constable had authorised the covert operation, and his evidence was subject to challenge.
Held: The judge had properly disclosed his acquaintance with the Chief Constable. He had sought advice from the Senior Presiding Judge after objection was taken, and would keep the question under review.
When testing for bias, the court should ask whether in all the circumstances a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased. In this case there was no reason to suspect bias.,br /.As to the tapes, the general approach is not necessarily to exclude evidence because it has been obtained in a way which is contrary to law or contrary to rules contained in the Codes of Practice under PACE. In this case PACE had not been complied with, since other methods of investigation had not been properly tried. The 2000 Act had changed the law, but such tapes would have been admissible before the Act. There was no sufficient unfairness to justify exclusion under PACE. The judge had given a direction about the failure of the defendants to give evidence without allowing either counsel to make submissions, and had erred. The direction should normally follow the Judicial Studies Board guidelines, however in this case, the departure made no difference. Appeal denied.
Lord Woolf said: ‘paragraph 4.3 of a draft code of practice [to be issued under s.71 of RIPA] indicates that a prison cell is within the definition of residential premises. We have heard no argument as to this but even if a prison cell falls within the definition, it does not follow that a police cell is necessarily residential. Further clarification is in our judgment desirable, though we recognise that the existence of RIPA has materially improved the situation and it is certainly desirable that what happens in police cells be treated as intrusive surveillance.’


The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Mr Justice Mitchell, And, Mr Justice Keith


Gazette 21-Mar-2002, [2002] EWCA Crim 385, [2002] 2 Crim App R 38




Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 76 78, Human Rights Act 1998, European Convention on Human Rights 5 6 8, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 71, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 34


CitedRegina v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) HL 15-Jan-1999
A petition was brought to request that a judgment of the House be set aside because the wife of one their lordships, Lord Hoffmann, was as an unpaid director of a subsidiary of Amnesty International which had in turn been involved in a campaign . .
CitedPorter and Weeks v Magill HL 13-Dec-2001
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use
The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be . .
CitedRegina v Bailey and Smith CACD 1993
. .

Cited by:

CitedPlunkett and Another, Regina v CACD 13-Mar-2013
The defendants appealed against their convictions after admission of secret tape recordings made by the police in breach, said the defendants of the 2000 Act and unlawful. The recordings had been in the police van. The Crown said that this was not a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Administrative, Evidence, Human Rights, Criminal Practice

Updated: 05 June 2022; Ref: scu.167613