Regina v Longman and Cribben: CACD 1981

The court considered the situation applying where a case alleging conspiracy proceeded differently against two defendants. Lord Lane CJ said: ‘Where at the close of the prosecution case the evidence against one of the defendants is such that it would be unsafe to ask any jury to convict, then it goes without saying that the judge should so rule, and the case can then continue against the other defendant.
There will, however, be cases where the evidence against A and B is of equal weight or nearly so. In such a case there may be a risk of inconsistent verdicts, and the judge should direct the jury that because of the similarity of the evidence against each, the only just result would be the same verdict in respect of each: that is to say, both guilty or both not guilty. He must be careful to add, however, that if they are unsure about the guilt of one, then both must be found not guilty.
Whether he gives such a direction will, of course, depend on the way the evidence has emerged. The test is this. Is the evidence such that a verdict of guilty in respect of A and not guilty in respect of B would be, to all intents and purposes, inexplicable and therefore inconsistent? If so, it would be an occasion for the ‘both guilty or both not guilty’ direction. If not, then the separate verdict direction is required.’


Lord Lane CJ


[1981] 72 Cr App 121


Criminal Law Act 1977 5(8)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedTestouri, Regina v CACD 2-Dec-2003
The appellant challenged his conviction for conspiracy, saying that where only two parties were alleged to have been involved, differing verdicts could not be returned.
Held: The appeal was allowed. ‘In any case where what is alleged is a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.234973