McDonald v Her Majesty’s Advocate: PC 16 Oct 2008

(The High Court of Justiciary Scotland) The defendant sought to appeal against his convictions for murder and and assault. The HCJ in Scotland had refused to receive a devolution minute.
Held: The refusal was itself sufficient to give the Board of the Council jurisdiction to hear the appeal. That decision was one for the Board. On the merits the appeal was dismissed. The Judicial Committee accepted that if there had been a failure of disclosure at trial, the duty on appeal was to make available what should have been provided at trial as well as material relevant to existing grounds of appeal. However, it roundly rejected the contention that at the appellate stage there arose a duty on the prosecution to re-perform the entire disclosure exercise, so that the appellant could see whether anything might emerge which could be used to devise some additional ground of appeal.
Lord Rodger said: ‘Not only would such an obligation be unduly burdensome, but it would often be quite inappropriate at the appeal stage. By then, the real issues in contention between the parties will have been focused at the trial. In this new situation material which might have seemed to be of potential significance for the defence before the trial (for instance as weakening the identification evidence of a witness to a murder) may now be seen to have actually been irrelevant (because for instance the accused admitted that he killed the deceased but pleaded self-defence).’

Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry and Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
[2008] UKPC 46, 2008 SCCR 954, 2008 GWD 35-527, 2008 SCL 1378, [2009] HRLR 3
Bailii, Times
Scotland Act 1998
Cited by:
CitedMcInnes v Her Majesty’s Advocate SC 10-Feb-2010
The defendant complained that the prosecution had not disclosed the fact that a prosecution witness had convictions, and that had it been disclosed it would have undermined the prosecution. Other statements taken were not disclosed as had later . .
CitedAllison v Her Majesty’s Advocate SC 10-Feb-2010
(Scotland) The defendant appealed against his conviction saying that the prosecution had introduced at trial a statement of a witness who had died before the trial, but they had failed to disclose that he had several convictions and outstanding . .
CitedFraser v Her Majesty’s Advocate SC 25-May-2011
The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder, saying that the prosecution had failed to disclose certain matters.
Held: The appeal succeeded, the conviction was quashed and the case remitted to the Scottish courts to consider . .
CitedNunn, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
Limits to Duty To Investigate
The claimant had been convicted of a murder. He continued to protest his innocence, and now sought judicial review of the respondent’s decision not to act upon his requests for further investigations which might prove his innocence.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Scotland, Criminal Practice, Constitutional

Updated: 25 December 2021; Ref: scu.277529