Regina v Pendleton: HL 13 Dec 2001

The defendant had appealed his conviction for murder to the Court of Appeal. The 1968 Act required the court to consider whether the conviction was unsafe. New evidence was before the Court of Appeal, but they had rejected the appeal.
Held: The Court of Appeal should reach its own view based on the unadorned words of the Act which stated its duty. It should look back and ask whether the new evidence placed before it on appeal might have affected the jury’s verdict.
The question of whether there might or might not be a retrial was not relevant. Lord Bingham said: ‘I am not persuaded that the House laid down any incorrect principle in Stafford, so long as the Court of Appeal bears very clearly in mind that the question for its consideration is whether the conviction is safe and not whether the accused is guilty. But the test advocated by counsel in Stafford and by Mr Mansfield in this appeal does have a dual virtue to which the speeches I have quoted perhaps gave somewhat inadequate recognition. First, it reminds the Court of Appeal that it is not and should never become the primary decision-maker. Secondly, it reminds the Court of Appeal that it has an imperfect and incomplete understanding of the full processes which led the jury to convict. The Court of Appeal can make its assessment of the fresh evidence it has heard, but save in a clear case it is at a disadvantage in seeking to relate that evidence to the rest of the evidence which the jury heard. For these reasons it will usually be wise for the Court of Appeal, in a case of any difficulty, to test their own provisional view by asking whether the evidence, if given at the trial, might reasonably have affected the decision of the trial jury to convict. If it might, the conviction must be thought to be unsafe.’
and . . ‘It will usually be wise for the Court of Appeal, in a case of any difficulty, to test their own provisional view by asking whether the evidence, if given at the trial, might reasonably have affected the decision of the trial jury to convict. If it might, the conviction must be thought to be unsafe.’


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Lord Steyn, Lord Hope of Craighead and Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough


Times 18-Dec-2001, Gazette 14-Feb-2002, [2001] UKHL 66, [2002] 1 WLR 72, [2002] 1 Cr App R 34, [2002] 1 All ER 524


House of Lords, Bailii


Criminal Appeal Act 1995 9(1), Criminal Appeal Act 1968 2


England and Wales


CitedStirland v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1944
The House considered what was the appropriate test for allowing a conviction to stand despite the finding of an irregularity in the trial.
Held: The House must be satisfied that there was ‘a situation a reasonable jury, after being properly . .
ApprovedStafford v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 1974
The House rejected the submission of counsel that the Court of Appeal had asked the wrong question by taking as the test the effect of the fresh evidence on their mind and not the effect that the evidence would have had on the mind of the jury. It . .
Appeal fromRegina v Pendleton CACD 22-Jun-2000
The court set out the legal principles which apply to a proper assessment of the safety of a conviction in an appeal involving an application to adduce fresh evidence. . .

Cited by:

FollowedRegina v Paul Alexander Cleeland CACD 13-Feb-2002
The applicant appealed a conviction from 1973 for murder. The essential question was as to whether the court on an appeal was to apply the standards as at the date of the trial, or at the date of the appeal.
Held: Following Pendleton, the sole . .
CitedRegina v Maynard, Dudley etc CACD 31-Jul-2002
The defendants appealed against their convictions for murder. They alleged that the police record of an interview central to the cases had been falsified.
Held: To allow an appeal the court must conclude that the conviction is unsafe. The . .
CitedPoole and Mills v Regina CACD 17-Jun-2003
The case was a reference from the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The defendants had been convicted in 1990 of murder. The House of Lords had dismissed an earlier appeal. Police officers had allowed statements to be put forward which were false in . .
CitedPinfold, Mackenney v Regina CACD 15-Dec-2003
The appellants challenged their convictions for murder. The convictions had been based substantially upon the evidence of a co-accused who had admitted his part. They now challenged the admission by way of support of the evidence of the co-defendant . .
CitedWinzar v Regina CACD 20-Dec-2002
The defendant appealed conviction for the murder of her husband. It was said she had injected him with a fatal dose of insulin. He was incapacitated but not diabetic.
Held: The deceased’s brain had been destroyed before any prosecution was . .
CitedDeans, Regina v CACD 30-Jul-2004
In 1989 the defendant was convicted of assorted serious drugs crimes. His case came before the court once more but on the basis that the evidence against him had been fabricated by police officers who had subsequently been discredited.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v James Hanratty (Deceased) CACD 10-May-2002
Posthumous Appeal – Clear Purpose and Care Needed
An appeal was presented against the conviction for a murder many years earlier. The prosecution sought to introduce DNA evidence to support its case. The appellant party objected.
Held: The purpose of the appeal was to achieve justice, and . .
CitedBeckles, Regina v CACD 12-Nov-2004
The appellant had been convicted in 1997 of robbery and false imprisonment. His case was now refererred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The defendant had, on advice from his solicitor refused to answer questions at the police station. The . .
CitedKelvin Dial (otherwise called Peter), Andrew Dottin (otherwise called Maxwell) v The State PC 14-Feb-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) Two defendants appealed against their convictions for murder. The principal witness who had identified them, had retracted his evidence, but the retraction had not been believed. He was then shown to have lied.
Held: The . .
CitedKai-Whitewind, Regina v CACD 3-May-2005
The defendant was convicted of infanticide and murder. The experts differed as to the cause of death. She appealed her conviction saying that the experts in effect cancelled each other out.
Held: Her appeal failed. The jury was entitled to . .
CitedRaja v Van Hoogstraten ChD 19-Dec-2005
Damages were claimed after claimant alleged involvement by the defendant in the murder of the deceased. The defendant had been tried and acquitted of murder and manslaughter, but the allegation was now pursued. The defendant had since failed to . .
CitedBowman, Regina v CACD 2-Mar-2006
The defendant appealed his conviction of murder saying that evidence of other pathologists undermined the evidence given by similar experts for the crown.
Held: The court took the opportunity to give guidance on the provision of expert . .
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 . .
CitedSiddall and Brooke, Regina v CACD 15-Jun-2006
The court considered cases referred to it by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Each related to convictions for sexual assaults on children in care. New material including several untrue allegations by the complainants suggested that the . .
CitedSteele, Whomes and Corry , Regina v CACD 22-Feb-2006
The convictions had been referred back to the Court of Appeal in relation to various grounds, but the s.34 direction was a further ground relied on by the appellants. The Court recognised that the direction was inadequate by reference to the . .
CitedGeorge v Regina CACD 15-Nov-2007
The defendant appealed against his conviction for the murder of the BBC presenter Jill Dando. He said that the prosecution had relied heavily on the discovery, a year later, of a single particle of firearm discharge residue.
Held: The evidence . .
CitedRegina v Stock CACD 8-Aug-2008
The defendant sought to appeal his conviction in 1970 for robbery. He had refused to attend an identity parade but was then confronted with the main witness. Witnesses had also been shown photographs from which they were said to have selected the . .
CitedZT (Kosovo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 4-Feb-2009
The claimant sought asylum. The respondent on her appeal certified that the claim was clearly unfounded. The House was asked how further submissions might be made and what approach should be taken on a request for judicial review of such a decision. . .
CitedSiddall, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice Admn 16-Mar-2009
The claimant had been imprisoned then released after his conviction for sexual assaults. He appealed against rejection of his claim for compensation. The criterion for compensation was demonstrating that something had ‘gone seriously wrong in the . .
CitedCarter, Regina v CACD 31-Jul-2009
Appeal from conviction for murder. . .
CitedNoye, Kenneth, Regina v CACD 22-Mar-2011
The prisoner appealed against his conviction for murder on reference from the CCRC. There were new doubts about the reliabiity of the expert forensic expert.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Dr H’s evidence did not impinge on the essential . .
CitedDizaei v Regina CACD 16-May-2011
The defendant had been convicted of misconduct in a public office and doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice. He now appealed saying that he could demonstrate that the principal witness was dishonest. The prosecution replied that . .
CitedS and Others v Regina CACD 28-Jun-2012
Four defendants appealed against convictions for child sex abuse. The convictions had taken place at a time when current guidance to examining physicians did not apply. In each case the defendants consented to new evidence from the prosecution.
CitedCadman v Regina CACD 3-Jul-2008
Appeal from conviction of fraud – material provided to the jury after retirement which had not been used during the trial and made available to be challenged.
Held: Conviction set aside: ‘For the jury to use the extraneous material provided . .
CitedDorrian, Rex v CANI 13-Sep-2022
Appeal against conviction for a single count of manslaughter . .
CitedRegina v Pollock CANI 24-Sep-2004
‘1. The Court of Appeal should concentrate on the single and simple question ‘does it think that the verdict is unsafe’.
2. This exercise does not involve trying the case again. Rather it requires the court, where conviction has followed trial . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

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Updated: 17 November 2022; Ref: scu.167010