Regina v Russell-Jones: CACD 1995

The Crown cannot be required to adduce evidence which (or to tender for cross-examination a witness whose evidence) is not capable of belief: ‘. . . the prosecution ought normally to call or offer to call all the witnesses who give direct evidence of the primary facts of the case, unless for good reason, in any instance, the prosecutor regards the witness’s evidence as unworthy of belief. In most cases the jury should have available all of that evidence as to what actually happened, which the prosecution, when serving statements, considered to be material, even if there are inconsistencies between one witness and another. The defence cannot always be expected to call for themselves witnesses of the primary facts whom the prosecution has discarded. For example, the evidence they may give, albeit at variance with other evidence called by the Crown, may well be detrimental to the defence case. If what a witness of the primary facts has to say is properly regarded by the prosecution as being incapable of belief, or as some of the authorities say ‘incredible’, then his evidence cannot help the jury assess the overall picture of the crucial events; hence, it is not unfair that he should not be called . . .
The prosecutor is also, as we have said, the primary judge of whether or not a witness to the material events is incredible, or unworthy of belief. It goes without saying that he could not properly condemn a witness as incredible merely because, for example, he gives an account at variance with that of a larger number of witnesses, and one which is less favourable to the prosecution case than that of the others.
A prosecutor properly exercising his discretion will not therefore be obliged to proffer a witness merely in order to give the defence material with which to attack the credit of other witnesses on whom the Crown relies. To hold otherwise would, in truth, be to assert that the prosecution are obliged to call a witness for no purpose other than to assist the defence in its endeavour to destroy the Crown’s own case. No sensible rule of justice could require such a stance to be taken.’
Kennedy LJ
[1995] 1 CAR 538, [1995] 3 All ER 239
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v W (Reference Under Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1972) CACD 8-May-2003
The allegation was of a serious assault on the defendant’s wife. The prosecution considered she would not be a reliable witness, and did not call her. Other evidence being inadmissible, the defendant was acquitted. The AG appealed.
Held: There . .
CitedRegina v Mills, Regina v Poole HL 24-Jul-1997
The prosecution have a duty to disclose to the defence the statement of an adverse witness and not just to provide the name and address, even though that person was not seen as credible witness by the prosecution. ‘the rule in Bryant and Dickson is . .
CitedGrant v The Queen PC 16-Jan-2006
(Jamaica) The defendant appealed his conviction for murder saying that the admission of an unsworn statement by one witness and the non-admission of another similar statement who did not either attend court was unconstitutional. He shot the victim . .
CitedRegina v Cairns; Regina v Zaldi, Regina v Chaudary CACD 22-Nov-2002
The defendants applied for the defence statements of co-defendants to be disclosed. A co-defendant was to give evidence for the Crown, and they sought to have it excluded as unreliable.
Held: The 1996 Act created a duty of secondary . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 June 2021; Ref: scu.181981