The defendant faced an accusation of having slapped a child in the street. The child’s carer had called the police to say that she thought the complaint a practical joke. The defendant did not give evidence. The magistrates retired and came back to convict him, but saying that they had seen his antecedents, which had been excluded from the evidence. The clerk gave evidence that she had only provided the conviction details after the magistrates had already confirmed after retirement that they had decided to convict.
Held: The fact that the magistrates did not know of the defendant’s record was established, and it was sufficient to distnguish this case from historical cases. The conviction stood, but it was clear that the practice had not been the best.
 EWHC 569 (Admin)
Cited – Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Anufrijeva HL 26-Jun-2003
The appellant challenged the withdrawal of her benefits payments. She had applied for asylum, and been granted reduced rate income support. A decision was made refusing her claim, but that decision was, by policy, not communicated to her for several . .
Cited – Regina v Birmingham Magistrates Court ex parte Robinson 1986
Cited – Regina v Coates; Regina v Graves; Regina v Terry CACD 30-Jul-2004
Each defendant had appealed. The appeals had been heard but the decisions not announced. One of the judges, Lord Justice Kay died.
Held: It was not open to the remaining judges to announce their decisions, whatever discussions had taken place . .
Cited – Regina v Downham Market Magistrates Court ex parte Nudd 1988
Where a magistrate becomes aware or might have become aware of an accused’s record before verdict, there had been a material irregularity and the conviction could not stand. Justice must be seen to be done, and any perception of improper bias must . .
Cited – Davies v Griffiths 1936
The proper procedure for justices is that Magistrates should announce the decision to convict before inquiring of the previous convictions and, that being so, the defendant or his counsel should have the further opportunity of addressing the Court. . .
Cited – Regina v East Kerrier Justices ex parte Mundy 1952
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Criminal Practice, Magistrates
Updated: 05 July 2022; Ref: scu.240059