Regina v Hearne and Coleman: CACD 4 May 2000

D appealed a conviction after direction under s34.
Held: The appeal failed. ‘Section 34 is designed, in part at any rate and perhaps principally, to deal with the sort of situation which not infrequently arises where a defence is advanced which has never been previously indicated even though there was sufficient opportunity to do so, as from the provisions we have read make clear would be the case where there has been an interview under caution. It is to allow the jury, in a proper case and subject to safeguards, to draw an inference from the fact that the defence advanced at trial has not been previously entered, the obvious inference being in many such cases that it was or is a sprung defence, that is a recently made up, or improvised defence. It is not the truth or otherwise of the explanation which is the chief concern of the jury, it is the fact that it has not been mentioned previously which may in an appropriate case allow the jury to draw an inference that it is a recent invention, thus assisting the jury to its ultimate conclusion as to whether or not the explanation offered at trial is true or false. That is how the prosecution attempted to employ the provisions of this section at the trial of Hearne and it was in that context that the learned judge directed the jury as he did.’


Unreported 4 May 2000


Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 34


England and Wales

Cited by:

QualifiedRegina v Webber HL 22-Jan-2004
The defendant complained that the judge had given a direction under s34 even though his counsel had only put matters to witnesses for the prosecution.
Held: A positive suggestion put to a witness by or on behalf of a defendant may amount to a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.192246