Regina v Joseph Robert H: CACD 1990

At his first trial, the appellant was charged with several sexual offences. He was acquitted on some and the jury failed to agree on others. His counsel sought to adduce evidence of acquittal on the Counts of indecent assault at the first trial to test the reliability of the complainant’s evidence.
Held: The fact of the acquittal could not demonstrate that the complainant was a liar, otherwise the jury would not have disagreed on the other Counts. The Lord Chief Justice also identified a number of reasons why the acquittals could have occurred in circumstances which would not necessarily have cast any adverse reflection on the reliability of the witness at all. Then he said this: ‘It seems to us that, in a case such as this, the judge has a very difficult exercise to perform. He has to balance the interests of the defendant against the interests of the prosecution and he has to determine, in the light of those considerations, what, in his judgment, would be fair. Because, like so many problems in the criminal trial, it is fairness rather than any remote abstruse legal principle which must guide the judge. Coupled with that fairness, if indeed it is not part of it, is a necessity for the judge to ensure that the jury whom he is assisting do not have their minds clouded by issues which are not the true issues which they have to determine.’


The Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Rose J and Sir Bernard Caulfield


[1990] 90 Crim App R 440


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Robinson CACD 23-Mar-2011
Earlier Acquittal not for mention on retrial
The defendant appealed against several convictions for serious ‘historic’ sex abuse. He said that there was insufficient evidence before the court to decide that the complainant had been under 14 at the time, and that any consent was vitiated. He . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.441413