Payton, Regina v: CACD 26 May 2006

The defendant appealed a conviction of possession of 66 grams of cannabis with intent to supply. Also found were a large number of small bags and pounds 7,000 in cash. The defendant said the cannabis was for his personal use, and the equipment had been left at the house. He also complained of the mention of an old spent conviction.
Held: The judge had correctly admitted the amount of cash in evidence. However the judge, having admitted the previous convictions and then having sought to ask the jury not to attach weight to them, should have taken the last step and said that the defendant’s good character was intact: ‘A judge who has decided that a defendant is, for the purposes of the trial, of good character, must confer the benefit on him of a good character direction. The failure to do so, in present circumstances, amounting to a fatal misdirection and the conviction must be quashed. ‘
The court considered the fact of parallel proceedings in the magistrates’ court for forfeiture, under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, of money found on a search in his flat and that was relied on in the criminal proceedings in support of the allegation of an intention to supply. The forfeiture proceedings were initiated by the police. The Crown Prosecution Service did not know of them. Although the hearing in the forfeiture proceedings had been fixed for a date after the criminal trial, the appellant had disclosed a considerable amount of material in them in advance of the criminal trial. The judge’s summing up in the criminal trial referred to the fact that the appellant had supplied information and had given the police the names of witnesses in the context of the forfeiture proceedings.
Held: The concurrent forfeiture proceedings were not an abuse of process or prejudice to the appellant had been established. But it had sufficient concerns to invite written representations about the practice followed. Pill LJ stated: ‘It is accepted that ‘close liaison’ would be expected between investigators in the civil and in the criminal proceedings. It is submitted that ‘the overwhelming likelihood is that the police would lodge an application for forfeiture (and so effect the detention of the cash and the preservation of the status quo) but then seek an adjournment of the application until criminal proceedings (including any appeal) are concluded’. The advantages of this course are described in the note. They include the preservation of the status quo and ensuring that the defendant is ‘not embarrassed into having to rehearse what may be part of his defence to the criminal allegation’. The defendant is unlikely to be in receipt of public funding in the civil proceedings. The potential saving of expense by adjourning civil proceedings is also mentioned.’ He recorded submissions on behalf of the appellant that there was ‘a real potential unfairness for a defendant to be put in the position of giving evidence on oath about matters which could affect his criminal trial before his criminal trial takes place. If the defendant chooses not to give such evidence, it might well result in forfeiture of cash seized before his criminal trial has concluded, or even started’. He said that the concern expressed by the court at the hearing was reflected in the contents of the notes and the submissions but that it was not necessary or appropriate to investigate further the issues arising, in the absence of fuller argument and a live issue. He continued: ‘It is, however, important that care is taken to ensure that the fair trial of a defendant is not prejudiced by anything arising in civil proceedings in the magistrates’ court and steps should be taken accordingly. Liaison between police acting under Part 5 of the 2002 Act and the prosecuting authority is essential. In view of what happened in this case, the issue should be addressed by them.’


Lord Justice Pill The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs DBE Mr Justice Underhill


[2006] EWCA Crim 1226




Proceeds of Crime Act 2002


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Heath CACD 1-Feb-1994
The defendant complained that the judge had wrongly admitted details of past spent convictions. The judge had told the jury ‘entirely to ignore them as far as this case is concerned’.
Held: The convictions were ‘so lacking in significance to . .
CitedRegina v Vye etc CACD 7-Apr-1993
Detailed guidance was given on good character directions, as to how and when they should be given, but: ‘Provided that the judge indicates to the jury the two respects in which good character may be relevant, ie credibility and propensity, this . .
CitedRegina v Gray CACD 2004
The court gave guidance on appropriate good character directions where a defendant had old convictions. . .
CitedRegina v Morris CACD 25-Oct-1994
The otherwise unexplained or unexplainable possession of large amounts of cash can be admissible as evidence of drug dealing. . .
CitedRegina v Aziz; Regina v Tosun; Regina v Yorganci HL 16-Jun-1995
The defendant (one of three) relied upon his part exculpatory statement made in interview and did not give evidence. The judge said that his good character was relevant as to his own propensity, and the character of the others was relevant to their . .
CitedRegina v Durbin CACD 1995
The appellant had been convicted of the importation of 875 kilos of cannabis. He had spent convictions but more significantly he admitted in interview being engaged in smuggling other contraband goods. Furthermore, he admitted telling lies to the . .
CitedRegina 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 by:

CitedMote v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Another CA 14-Dec-2007
The appellant was accused of having received income benefits to which he was not entitled. A prosecution was commenced and at the same time he appealed to the tribunal against the decision that there had been an overpayment. The authorities . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 05 October 2022; Ref: scu.242220