Regina v H; Regina v C: HL 5 Feb 2004

Use of Special Counsel as Last Resort Only

The accused faced charges of conspiring to supply Class A drugs. The prosecution had sought public interest immunity certificates. Special counsel had been appointed by the court to represent the defendants’ interests at the applications.
Held: It was permissible to use special counsel, but this must genuinely be a last resort. The court has to be satisfied that no other course of action will adequately meet the need for a fair trial. A judge’s role is as arbiter of the law, not of the facts, and his first duty was to ensure a fair trial. The House identified the questions to be answered before a decision was made not to allow full disclosure.
Lord Bingham said: ‘If material does not weaken the prosecution case or strengthen that of the defendant, there is no requirement to disclose it. For this purpose the parties’ respective cases should not be restrictively analysed. But they must be carefully analysed, to ascertain the specific facts the prosecution seek to establish and the specific grounds on which the charges are resisted . . Neutral material or material damaging to the defendant need not be disclosed.’
and ‘The trial process is not well served if the defence are permitted to make general and unspecified allegations and then seek far-reaching disclosure in the hope that material may turn up to make them good.’
Lord Bingham said: ‘Fairness ordinarily requires that any material held by the prosecution which weakens its case or strengthens that of the defendant . . should be disclosed to the defence. Bitter experience has shown that miscarriages of justice may occur where such material is withheld from disclosure. The golden rule is that full disclosure of such material should be made.’

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Woolf, Lord Hope, Lord Walker. Lord Carswell
[2004] UKHL 3, Times 06-Feb-2004, Gazette 26-Feb-2004, [2004] 2 AC 134, [2004] 2 WLR 335, [2004] HRLR 20, [2004] 2 Cr App R 10, [2004] 1 All ER 1269, [2004] 16 BHRC 332
House of Lords, Bailii
Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 3(1)(a) 7(2)(a)
England and Wales
CitedIn re Gunawardena, Harbutt and Banks CACD 1990
The defendant applied to stay the proceedings on the grounds that they were an abuse of process.
Held: The application for leave to appeal was rejected. The application to stay was not within the ambit of the preparatory hearing and therefore . .
CitedRegina v Ward (Judith) CACD 15-Jul-1992
The defendant had been wrongly convicted of IRA bombings. She said that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence.
Held: The prosecution’s forensic scientists are under a common law duty to disclose to the defence anything they may . .
CitedRegina v Keane CACD 15-Mar-1994
Public Interest Immunity Certificates for the protection of informants must be used only carefully. The Crown must specify the purpose of the public interest immunity certificate. The principles on disclosure in Ward are not limited to scientific . .
CitedRegina v Davis; Regina v Rowe; Regina v Johnson CA 10-Mar-1993
Guidance was given on the procedures to be followed for applications for non-disclosure for public interest immunity. The court identified three types of case. In the first, and most frequent case the prosecution must notify the defence of the . .
CitedRegina v Turner (Paul) CA 11-Oct-1994
An application to exclude evidence for public interest immunity was to be recorded verbatim. The court emphasised the need to scrutinise, with great care, applications for disclosure of details about informers. . .
CitedSecretary of State for the Home Department v Rehman HL 11-Oct-2001
The applicant, a Pakistani national had entered the UK to act as a Muslim priest. The Home Secretary was satisfied that he was associated with a Muslim terrorist organisation, and refused indefinite leave to remain. The Home Secretary provided both . .
CitedRegina v Shayler HL 21-Mar-2002
The defendant had been a member of the security services. On becoming employed, and upon leaving, he had agreed to keep secret those matters disclosed to him. He had broken those agreements and was being prosecuted. He sought a decision that the . .
CitedKlass And Others v Germany ECHR 6-Sep-1978
(Plenary Court) The claimant objected to the disclosure by the police of matters revealed during their investigation, but in this case, it was held, disclosure even after the event ‘might well jeopardise the long-term purpose that originally . .
CitedEdwards v The United Kingdom ECHR 16-Dec-1992
The fact that the elderly victim of the robbery of which the defendant had been convicted had failed to pick out Mr Edwards when she was shown two volumes of photographs of possible burglars which included his photograph was not disclosed to the . .
CitedBendenoun v France ECHR 24-Feb-1994
The applicant complained of non-disclosure by the prosecution.
Held: His application failed because the undisclosed material had not been relied on by the prosecution and he had given no sufficiently specific reasons for requesting the . .
CitedChahal v The United Kingdom ECHR 15-Nov-1996
Proper Reply Opportunity Required on Deportation
(Grand Chamber) The claimant was an Indian citizen who had been granted indefinite leave to remain in this country but whose activities as a Sikh separatist brought him to the notice of the authorities both in India and here. The Home Secretary of . .
CitedTinnelly and Sons Ltd and Others and McElduff and Others v United Kingdom ECHR 10-Jul-1998
Legislation which disallowed claimants who asserted that they had been discriminated against, on the grounds of their religious background, from appealing through the courts system, was a clear breach of their human rights. A limitation will not be . .
CitedVan Mechelen And Others v The Netherlands ECHR 23-Apr-1997
A Dutch court had convicted the applicants of attempted manslaughter and robbery on the basis of statements made, before their trial, by anonymous police officers, none of whom gave evidence before the Regional Court or the investigating judge. The . .
CitedJasper v The United Kingdom ECHR 16-Feb-2000
Grand Chamber – The defendants had been convicted after the prosecution had withheld evidence from them and from the judge under public interest immunity certificates. They complained that they had not had fair trials.
Held: The right was . .
CitedPG and JH v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-2001
The use of covert listening devices within a police station was an infringement of the right to privacy, since there was no system of law regulating such practices. That need not affect the right to a fair trial. The prosecution had a duty to . .
CitedAtlan v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Jun-2001
It was an infringement of the defendant’s right to a fair trial for the trial judge not to be involved in ex parte applications to exclude evidence. The defect could not be remedied by the same evidence later being presented also to the appeal court . .
CitedRegina v Early, Regina v Bajwa, Regina v Vickers etc CACD 26-Jul-2002
The appellants challenged their convictions after several trials, alleging dishonesty on the part of the Customs and Excise prosecuting team in misleading the trial judges when making pre-trial applications. Several prosecutions had depended upon . .
CitedEdwards and Lewis v The United Kingdom ECHR 22-Jul-2003
(Commission) The claimants said that the procedures used to secure their convictions amounted to entrapment, and that UK criminal procedures did not give sufficient protection so as to provide a fair trial. One was arrested with heroin, and the . .
CitedDowsett v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Jun-2003
The applicant had been convicted along with others of a murder. He now alleged that the police had refused to disclose evidence which would have supported his defence. Some had been disclosed but some still withheld on public interest grounds by the . .
Not good lawRegina v Smith (Joe) CACD 20-Dec-2000
The defendant was arrested for burglary and a non-intimate sample taken without his consent. The DNA profile matched blood at the scene of the burglary, and this match was the bedrock of the prosecution case. Before the trial, prosecuting counsel . .
CitedRegina v Gough (Robert) HL 1993
The defendant had been convicted of robbery. He appealed, saying that a member of the jury was a neighbour to his brother, and there was therefore a risk of bias. This was of particular significance as the defendant was charged with conspiracy with . .
CitedRegina v Inner West London Coroner Ex Parte Dallaglio, and Ex Parte Lockwood Croft CA 16-Jun-1994
A coroner’s comment that the deceased’s relative was ‘unhinged’ displayed a bias which was irreparable. ‘The description ‘apparent bias’ traditionally given to this head of bias is not entirely apt, for if despite the appearance of bias the court is . .
CitedRegina v Stipendiary Magistrate for Norfolk ex parte Dean Taylor Admn 1-Jul-1997
The prosecutor applied ex parte to the magistrate for an order that he need not disclose certain material to the defendant. Though the hearing was inter partes, the content of the protected material was not shown to the defendant’s solciitor. . .
CitedRegina (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Acton Youth Court QBD 21-Jun-2001
It was not normally necessary for magistrates to excuse themselves from further involvement in a case after making preliminary rulings on a request for public immunity certificates. The purpose of that ex parte hearing was to ensure the protection . .
Appeal fromRegina v H; Regina v C CACD 16-Oct-2003
The defendants were charged with serious drugs offences. The prosecutor had applied for public interest immunity certificates. The judge had required the appointment of independent counsel. The prosecutor appealed.
Held: The same district . .

Cited by:
AppealRegina v H; Regina v C CACD 16-Oct-2003
The defendants were charged with serious drugs offences. The prosecutor had applied for public interest immunity certificates. The judge had required the appointment of independent counsel. The prosecutor appealed.
Held: The same district . .
CitedRegina v G and Another (PII: Counsel’s duty) CACD 27-May-2004
During the course of the trial, the prosecutor had inadvertently disclosed to the defence legal team material which had been subject to a public interest immunity certificate. The judge made an order under the 1987 Act that the defence team must not . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board CA 28-Jul-2004
The discretionary life-prisoner faced a parole board. The Secretary of State wished to present evidence, but wanted the witness to be protected. The Parole Board appointed special counsel to hear the evidence on behalf of the prisoner on terms that . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board HL 7-Jul-2005
Balancing Rights of Prisoner and Society
The appellant had been convicted of the murder of three police officers in 1966. His tariff of thirty years had now long expired. He complained that material put before the Parole Board reviewing has case had not been disclosed to him.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v Alibhai and Others CACD 30-Mar-2004
The defendants appealed against their convictions for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute counterfeit Microsoft products. They said that inadequate disclosure had been provided by Microsoft. The principal witness was a participating informant . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Wood; Director of Public Prosecutions v McGillicuddy Admn 19-Jan-2006
Each defendant sought disclosure of materials concerning the intoximeter instruments, having been charged with driving with excess alcohol. The defendants said that the meters were inaccurate and that the manufacturers were in effect part of the . .
CitedRegina v Davis (Iain); Regina v Ellis, Regina v Gregory, Regina v Simms, Regina v Martin CACD 19-May-2006
The several defendants complained at the use at their trials of evidence given anonymously. The perceived need for anonymity arose because, from intimidation, the witnesses would not be willing to give their evidence without it.
Held: The . .
CitedMurungaru v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others Admn 4-Oct-2006
The claimant challenged the decision of the respondent that his continued presence in the UK would not be conducive to the public good. He had been given multiple entry visas which had been revoked.
Held: The refusal of entry interfered with . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others QBD 18-Nov-2009
The claimants sought damages from the defendants saying that they had been held and ill treated at various detention centres by foreign authorities, but with the involvement of the defendants. The defendants sought to bring evidence before the court . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others CA 4-May-2010
Each claimant had been captured and mistreated by the US government, and claimed the involvement in and responsibility for that mistreatment by the respondents. The court was asked whether a court in England and Wales, in the absence of statutory . .
CitedChief Constable and Another v YK and Others FD 6-Oct-2010
The court gave directions in Forced Marriage Protection order applications. An order had been made at the request of the police on behalf of A, and the court had declined to discharge it on A’s own application.
Held: Special advocates were not . .
CitedAl Rawi and Others v The Security Service and Others SC 13-Jul-2011
The claimant pursued a civil claim for damages, alleging complicity of the respondent in his torture whilst in the custody of foreign powers. The respondent sought that certain materials be available to the court alone and not to the claimant or the . .
CitedHome Office v Tariq SC 13-Jul-2011
(JUSTICE intervening) The claimant pursued Employment Tribunal proceedings against the Immigration Service when his security clearance was withdrawn. The Tribunal allowed the respondent to use a closed material procedure under which it was provided . .
CitedRegina v Barkshire and Others CACD 20-Jul-2011
Undervover police were agents provocateur
The defendants appealed against their convictions for aggravated trespass, saying that the police had infiltrated their environmental protest group, and that the undercover officer had acted as agent provocateur to entrap them into the offences. . .
CitedNunn, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary and Another SC 18-Jun-2014
Limits to Duty To Investigate
The claimant had been convicted of a murder. He continued to protest his innocence, and now sought judicial review of the respondent’s decision not to act upon his requests for further investigations which might prove his innocence.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Evidence

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.192677