Regina v Coles: CACD 1995

The 15 year old defendant appealed his conviction on the basis of recklessness, challenging, unsuccessfully, the rule in Caldwell.
Held: Because recklessness was to be judged by the standard of the reasonable prudent man, expert evidence of the defendant’s capacity to foresee the risks which would arise from his setting fire to hay in a barn had been rightly excluded and that: ‘unless some factor of the mental health or psychiatric state of the defendant is raised, such evidence is not admissible.’ The court distinguished Silcott, drawing a line between expert evidence going to the reliability of a confession and expert evidence going to mens rea.
Hobhouse LJ
[1995] 1 Cr App R 157
Criminal Damage Act 1971 1(1)
England and Wales
CitedCommissioner of Police v Caldwell HL 19-Mar-1981
The defendant got drunk and set fire to the hotel where he worked. Guests were present. He was indicted upon two counts of arson. He pleaded guilty to the 1(1) count but contested the 1(2) charge, saying he was so drunk that the thought there might . .
CitedRegina v Silcot, Raghip and others CACD 9-Dec-1991
There can be an increased readiness of the courts to accept expert evidence as to the defendant’s mental capacity where the issue is as to the admissibility of a confession statement. . .

Cited by:
AppliedRegina v G and R HL 16-Oct-2003
The defendants, young boys, had set fire to paper and thrown the lit papers into a wheelie bin, expecting the fire to go out. In fact substantial damage was caused. The House was asked whether a conviction was proper under the section where the . .
CitedHenry, Regina v CACD 29-Jun-2005
The defendant appealed his conviction for soliciting to murder and conspiracy to murder. An expert’s opinion now described him as of low intelligence and vulnerable to the sort of pressure of which he complained.
Held: The expert evidence had . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 03 March 2021; Ref: scu.186841