Regina v Cooper (Sean): CACD 1969

The court considered its power to interfere with a jury’s verdict where a trial had been properly conducted: ‘every issue was before the jury and in which the jury was properly instructed, and, accordingly, a case in which this court will be very reluctant indeed to intervene. It has been said over and over again throughout the years that this court must recognise the advantage which a jury has in seeing and hearing the witnesses, and if all the material was before the jury and the summing-up was impeccable, this court should not lightly interfere. Indeed, until the passing of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1966 . . it was almost unheard of for this court to interfere in such a case. However, now our powers are somewhat different, and we are indeed charged to allow an appeal against conviction if we think that the verdict of the jury should be set aside on the ground that under all the circumstances of the case it is unsafe or unsatisfactory. That means that in cases of this kind the court must in the end ask itself a subjective question, whether we are content to let the matter stand as it is, or whether there is not some lurking doubt in our minds which makes us wonder whether an injustice has been done. This is a reaction which may not be based strictly on the evidence as such; it is a reaction which can be produced by the general feel of the case as the court experiences it.’ ‘The test whether each member of an appellate court considers the verdicts ‘unsafe or unsatisfactory’ is part of the very alphabet of the criminal law. ‘


Widgery LJ


[1969] 1 QB 267


Criminal Appeal Act 1966


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKin-Hung v The Queen PC 11-Nov-1996
(Hong Kong) Despite the judge’s sympathetic directions as to the inadeqacy of the prosecution case, the defendant was convicted of two rapes.
Held: The test whether each member of an appellate court considers the verdicts ‘unsafe or . .
CitedStafford v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1974
The House rejected the submission of counsel that the Court of Appeal had asked the wrong question by taking as the test the effect of the fresh evidence on their mind and not the effect that the evidence would have had on the mind of the jury. It . .
CitedPope v Regina CACD 1-Nov-2012
A woman had been murdered. Her husband was acquitted, and the present appellant then charged and convicted. His appeal succeeded, and a retrial ordered. He now appealed against his second conviction. The defendant now appealed, saying that there . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.191151