Robson and others v Regina: CACD 21 Dec 2006

Appeal from convictions for historic abuse: ‘the appeals raise the difficult question of the safety of verdicts which depend upon evidence given by witnesses who were young at the time, vulnerable and purport to give an account of events which may have taken place at least twenty-five years ago. They raise the issue as to whether, either at the close of the prosecution case, or at the close of the defence case, the judge should have intervened to withdraw the allegations from the jury on the basis that no jury could safely convict. They also raise an issue as to the proper way the judge should have directed the jury about such incidents.’
Held: As to some counts: ‘, in the light of the paucity of clear evidence identifying which teachers were responsible for the attack by the school and the inaccuracy of the judge in identifying which evidence went to Counts 7 to 9, the verdicts of guilty in relation to George Robson and Wilson are unsafe and should be quashed. It must not be forgotten that the witnesses were purporting to identify teachers as being responsible for this fight, possibly some twenty-six years previously. There was such a lack of clear, reliable and consistent evidence, coupled with a significantly inaccurate direction as to lead us to the conclusion that the verdicts on Counts 7 to 9 are unsafe.’

Moses LJ, McCombe J, Martin Stephens QC HHJ
[2006] EWCA Crim 2754
England and Wales


Updated: 20 November 2021; Ref: scu.247500