The gladbury magistrates court

Skeleton Argument On Behalf Of The Defendant/Applicant

1. Introduction

  1. This is an application of ‘no case to answer' on behalf of D in regard of the charges of AGG TWOC (taking vehicle without owner's consent) and possession of an offensive weapon, under the test set out in R V Galbraith [1981] 2 All ER 1060; to be considered also within D 15.57 and D 15.58 of the Blackstone's Criminal Practice 2009. R V Turnbull and others [1976] 3 All ER 549 is also to be considered for mistaken identification.

1.2 The documents relied on upon in this application are:

Witness Statements: PC Andy Tompkins and PC Alan Jones

15th September 2008 (Gladbury Police)

Record Interview of D (applicant), 15th August 2008 (Gladbury Police)

Evidence of PC Andy Tompkins and PC Alan Jones (at Trial)

2. Background

2.1 At about 03 00 hours on the night of 15th September 2008, PC Tompkins noted a dark Vauxhall Astra registration Y837 YPG with one Occupant Park to the adjacent to the entrance of Padhill Industrial estate. PC Jones and PC Tompkins drove towards the Astra which was 50 yards away. The Astra started engine and was followed by 20 yards away. The Astra accelerated and turn left to Rutland avenue. PC Tompkins lost sight of the Astra. As the police car continued on Rutland avenue, an Astra was coming from the other side of the road. It was dark and PC Tomkins could not make much of the driver except that he was a young white male.

2.2 The Astra came to a halt and the driver decamped from the scene and ran into Alfred Beesley Estate. PC Tompkins and PC Jones followed the driver when the elderly lady lent out of the window of the estate and said ‘There's a young lad hiding behind the bins'.

2.3 The Police officers found Paul Anthony Roberts behind the bin. PC Tompkins immediately recognised Roberts. The defendant gave an explanation that he was looking for something behind the bin. PC Jones asked him to take his hand out of his pocket and struck him on his right forearm with his baton. PC Tompkins recalls that something fell from Roberts pocket but could not see what it was. When the area was searched, a kitchen knife was found. On an inspection of the abandoned Astra car, a card was found to which it was written ‘Paul, with love on your birthday L'

3. The Tests For Submission Of ‘No Case To Answer'

3.1 Application under R V Galbraith [1981] 2 All ER 1060

Primary test:

(a) If there is no evidence that the crime alleged against the accused was committed by him (to prove an essential element of offence) then the trial judge should stop the case and direct an acquittal - a submission of no case to answer must obviously succeed.

(b) where however the Crown's evidence is such that its strength or weakness depends on the view to be taken of a witness's reliability, or other matters which are generally speaking within the province of the jury and where on one possible of the facts there is evidence on which the jury could properly come to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty, then the Judge should allow the matter to be tried by the jury.

3.2 Application within Blackstone's Criminal Practice 2009 D 15.57

Second limb [(b), above, Galbraith [1981] 2 All ER 1060] characterised

There is some evidence - taken at face value - (there is some evidence but it is of tenuous character e.g. because of inherent weakness or vagueness or because it is inconsistent with other evidence [Galbraith]), the case should normally be left to the jury.

If, however, the evidence is so weak that no reasonable jury properly directed could convict on it, a submission should be upheld. Weakness may arise from the sheer improbability of what the witness is saying, from internal inconsistencies in the evidence or from its being of a type which the accumulated experience of the Courts has shown to be of doubtful value

  1. PC Tompkins had no view of the driver when the Astra drove past

  2. There is no better description that the driver was a white male

  3. PC Jones states that there is nothing really distinctive about the driver

  4. PC Tompkins can give no explanation as to why PC Jones could give a more detailed description of the driver than him.

  5. PC Tompkins recalls that something fell from Roberts pocket but could not see what it was.

  6. The description about the knife that the handle seems dryer and warmer is sole version of PC Tompkins and cannot be substantiated as PC Jones did not see any knife at the scene

3.3 Application under R V Turnbull and others [1976] 3 All ER 549

  1. The witness (PC Tompkins) only had observed the accused of a second or so when the Astra went past

  2. The lighting was bad and there was some glare from the windscreen.

  3. PC Tompkins recognised the man who was hiding behind the bin as Paul Anthony Roberts

  4. PC Tompkins gave a description of the accused wearing (Nike tick white trainers, dark blue jeans ‘football rules the world', black puff style jacket, blue jeans) only at time of arrest.

  5. There is proof to substantiate that accused had these wearing at the time when the Astra went through.

  6. Material discrepancy in the statements as PC Jones did not mentioned any description during the chase for PC Tompkins to say on the radio.

  7. PC Jones noticed that accused with close-cropped hair was wearing dark t-shirt and dark jacket with a motif on the front.

  8. There is no proof about the description of accused between the two police officers while in the chase.

4. The Issue In This Case

4.1 Description of the accused cannot be corroborated of the elderly woman's pointed out where the accused was hiding but did not see the accused leaving the Astra and penetrating Beesley Estate.

4.3 As to the record of the accused interview at Gladbury Police station, the accuser's girlfriend can stand as alibi as they were watching film that night. However, that witness was not called and the burden is on the prosecution to prove its case.

4.2 There is no mentioned by PC Tompkins to PC Jones about the kitchen knife during the search. However, it was handled to PC Jones only later of that night of the incident in the Police station.

4.3 The birthday card found in the car is addressed to Paul on his birthday and appeared to have been marked by ‘L'. The accused first name is Paul and although his girlfriend's name is Lisa; the accused is born on the 5th October 1986 and not in the month of August (15th August 2008).

5. Matters Which Court Must Have Regard

5.1 A conviction would be unsafe not because of the witness reliability or that the Crown is not believed but because there is insufficient evidence about the description of the accused and a properly directed jury could not convict. (R V Galbraith [1981] 2 All ER 1060)

5.2 It is submitted that the quality of the identification is poor and not good. A properly directed Court should withdraw this case from the jury. Moreover, there are no other evidences which support the correctness of the identification. (R V Turnbull and others [1976] 3 All ER 549)

5.3 It is submitted that this case cannot be safely left to the discretion of the Magistrate bench. This is not a borderline case as there is no disputed conclusion at the end of the knife or the Astra incidents that the accused gave a self exculpatory statement in regard of the accounts of events. Furthermore, the evidence of the Police officers is not corroborated. (R V Galbraith [1981] 2 All ER 1060)

5.4 If there is a wrongful rejection of a submission of ‘no case to answer' and the Court convicts the accused, the defendant's conviction would still be regarded as unsafe despite that the defendant is cross examined into admitting his guilt. Accordingly, it would be both an abuse of process and fundamentally unfair to allow the trial to continue beyond the end of the prosecution case. (R V Smith and others [2000] 1 All ER 263)

Conclusion

The Court is therefore invited to uphold a submission of ‘no case to answer'.