Regina v Derek William Bentley (Deceased): CACD 30 Jul 1998

The defendant had been convicted of murder in 1952, and hung. A court hearing an appeal after many years must apply laws from different eras to different aspects. The law of the offence (of murder) to be applied was that at the time of the offence. In this case however the summing up was so prejudicial as to make the conviction unsafe.
Lord Bingham CJ said that legislation enacted after the conviction and sentence does not affect the correctness of anything done under the law as it stood and was properly applied at the time of trial


Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Justice Kennedy and Mr Justice Collins


Times 31-Jul-1998, [1998] EWCA Crim 2516, (2001) 1 Cr App R 307




England and Wales


CitedRex v Appleby 1940
Appleby and Osler, while committing an offence of warehouse-breaking, were surprised by police officers. They attempted to escape, but were pursued by the officers and a shot was fired by Osler which killed one of the officers. The expression ‘Let . .
CitedConnelly v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1964
Plea of Autrefois Acquit is Narrow in Scope
The defendant had been tried for and acquitted of murder. The prosecution then sought to have him tried for robbery out of the same alleged facts. The House considered his plea of autrefois convict.
Held: The majority identified a narrow . .
CitedWoolmington v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 23-May-1935
Golden Thread of British Justice – Proof of Intent
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of his wife. She had left him and returned to live with her mother. He went to the house. He said he intended to frighten her that he would kill himself if she did not return. He wired a shotgun to . .
CitedMancini v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1941
There are exceptional cases to the rule in Woolmington for: ‘offences where onus of proof is specially dealt with by statute’. ‘There is no reason to repeat to the jury the warning as to reasonable doubt again and again, provided that the direction . .
CitedRex v Kritz 1949
The House discussed the extent of the direction required to be given to a jury as to the standard of proof required: ‘The only other point which has been seriously argued is that because the learned Common Sergeant told the jury that they must be . .
CitedLee Chun-Chuen v The Queen PC 1963
Their Lordships explained the meaning of the words of Viscount Salmon in Holmes: ‘It is plain that Viscount Simon must have meant the word ‘actual’ to have a limiting effect and that he had in mind some particular category of intention. He cannot . .
CitedRex v Summers HL 1952
The House considered the direction on the standard of proof. Lord Goddard said: ‘It is far better, instead of using the words ‘reasonable doubt’ and then trying to explain what is a reasonable doubt, to direct a jury: ‘You must not convict unless . .
CitedRegina v Murtagh and Kennedy 1955
. .
CitedRegina v Hepworth and Fearnley 1955
Lord Goddard discussed again the direction to the jury as to the standard of proof: ‘I think it is very unfortunate to talk to juries about reasonable doubt, because the explanations given of what is and what is not a reasonable doubt are so very . .
CitedRegina v Bradbury 1969
A court must give a clear direction to a jury on the standard of proof. A mere reference to being ‘satisfied’ without a reference to being sure, or being satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, was inadequate. . .
CitedRegina v Dunbar 1958
A conviction in a capital case may not stand in the absence of a proper direction on the standard of proof. . .
CitedRegina v Gourley 1981
The court emphasised the need for a clear direction to a jury on the standard of proof. . .
CitedRegina v Edwards 1983
The trial judge had omitted to give a rape jury any direction on the standard of proof.
Held: The court regarded that as a serious defect, not cured by references in the speeches of counsel, but applied the proviso to the section so as to . .
CitedRegina v Quinn 1983
The court laid down the need for a clear direction to a jury on the standard of proof required. . .
CitedRex v Cohen and Bateman 1909
The court considered the balance of judicial summings up to juries and the permissible limits of judicial comment: ‘The learned judge is said to have interfered improperly in the conduct of the case, and not to have put it fairly to the jury, and . .
CitedRegina v West 1910
A judge should not put himself in the position of the jury as regards the decision of facts and that the proviso to the section would not apply where the judge decided facts instead of the jury. . .
CitedRex v O’Donnell 1917
The appeal court considered the position of a defendant where the judge had summed up strongly against him: ‘ . . a judge, when directing a jury, is clearly entitled to express his opinion on the facts of the case, provided that he leaves the issues . .
CitedRex v Frampton 1917
In this case it was held that the trial judge had gone too far in his comments and could not really be said to have put the defendant’s case to the jury. ‘We cannot allow a summing up which puts the case so strongly against the prisoner to stand…’ . .
CitedRex v Canny 1945
Discussing the need for a judge not to sum up too strongly against a defendant: ‘in England a man is entitled to a fair trial by jury on any offence which is indictable. It does not matter how absurd the defence is, or how unlikely it is that any . .
CitedRegina v Culbertson CCA 1970
The court disapproved of a jury being told that disbelieving a police officer would ruin his career. . .
CitedRegina v Culbertson CCA 1970
The court disapproved of a jury being told that disbelieving a police officer would ruin his career. . .
CitedIbrahim v The King PC 6-Mar-1914
(Hong Kong) The defendant was an Afghan subject with the British Army in Hong Kong. He was accused of murder. Having accepted the protection of the British Armed forces, he became subject to their laws. In custody, he was asked about the offence by . .
CitedRegina v Gilbey CACD 26-Jan-1990
The court warned judges about the need for a balanced summing up to the jury: ‘A judge . . is not entitled to comment in such a way as to make the summing up as a whole unbalanced . . It cannot be said too often or too strongly that a summing up . .
CitedRex v Betts and Ridley 1931
Betts and Ridley agreed to rob a man on thw way to the bank. Betts was to push him to the ground and snatch the bag, while Ridley waited nearby in a car. When snatching the bag, Betts struck the victim who later died. Betts and Ridley were both . .
CitedMears v Regina PC 1993
The prosecution case relied upon the evidence of a woman with whom the accused cohabited. The prosecution case was that the accused had told the woman that he had killed the victim in a particular way. The defendant denied killing the victim and . .
CitedRegina v Wood CACD 11-Jul-1995
A newspaper’s pressure on jury to convict by suggesting other evidence, made the trial unfair. Suggestions of unfairness by judge in his summing up should only be made if supported by counsel at the trial. The degree of adverse comment allowed today . .
CitedRex v Jarmain CCA 1946
The defendant, in robbing him, pointed his cocked pistol at the cashier. He claimed that he was thinking what to do but had no intention of pressing the trigger, but the gun went off and killed her.
Held: Pointing a loaded pistol at a person . .
CitedRegina v Powell (Anthony) and Another; Regina v English HL 30-Oct-1997
When the court looked at the issue of foreseeability of murder in an allegation of joint enterprise, there was no requirement to show intent by the secondary party. The forseeability of the risk of the principal committing the offence from the point . .
CitedRegina v Uddin CACD 19-Mar-1998
A co-accused in a murder by a gang, where the existence of the murder weapon which was used, was outside the expectation of the defendant, need not himself be guilty, because of the different circumstances which applied in his case. . .
CitedRegina v Whitehouse 1941
(British Columbia) The court asked when a party to a joint enterprise may claim to have abandoned or withdrawn from that enterprise ‘Can it be said on the facts of this case that a mere change of mental intention and a quitting of the scene of the . .
CitedRegina v Whitefield 1984
The two accused agreed to break into a flat, but before entry was achieved, W said he withdrew. The other burgled the flat with another.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The judge was wrong to tell the jury that communication of his withdrawal to . .
CitedRegina v Becerra and Cooper CACD 1975
The defendants sought leave to appeal against their convictions for a brutal and horrific murder. Becerra suggeste dtat he had wanted to withdraw from the event before the murder took place.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘ in the circumstances then . .

Cited by:

FollowedRuth Ellis v Regina CACD 8-Dec-2003
In 1955, the deceased defendant was convicted of murder, and later hanged. The court considerd a post mortem appeal by the CRCC and her family. It was suggested that she should have been found guilty of manslaughter having been provoked by the . .
CitedHendy, Regina v CACD 12-Apr-2006
The applicant was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 for a brutal murder. He had pleaded diminished responsibility. There were now no papers from the trial. Medical evidence now suggested that at the time of the trial he would have suffered a . .
CitedDocherty, Regina v CACD 18-Jun-2014
The defendant appealed against his sentence to a term of imprisonment for public protection on his admission of wounding with intent. The sentencing system applied was replaced on the day following sentencing, and he said that the court should have . .
CitedBoakye and Others, Regina v CACD 3-Apr-2012
The defendants appealed their sentences for importation of class A drugs. They had acted as drugs mules. New guidelines were due to take effect which be expected to have led to shorter sentences. The court was asked whether such new standards could . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Crime

Updated: 25 November 2022; Ref: scu.155390