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15NBS Chambers

Defendant acquitted after submission that a retrial was an abuse of process.

By November 27, 2019No Comments

A defendant, represented by Jeremy Lynn, has just been acquitted after the Prosecution offered no evidence at a retrial. D was originally charged on a mixed indictment of sexual offences and child cruelty, the complainant on all 8 counts being his stepson. The jury acquitted D of all counts, save 2 cruelty counts on which they were unable to agree. The Prosecution requested a retrial on those 2 counts.

Jeremy argued that this was an abuse of process. The jury had plainly not been persuaded by the boy’s evidence of the sexual assaults and some of the cruelty – parts of which were fantastical. On a retrial the jury would be unaware of those less than credible complaints and the defendant would be left facing rather mundane, and so plausible, complaints of cruelty. The jury would not be getting the full picture, and further the Crown would be relying on a witness who, in reality, another jury had found unworthy of belief.

This is the third time that Jeremy has successfully advanced this argument. In a trial at Southwark the defendant was accused of blackmailing a wealthy businessman by claiming to be pregnant by him. The businessman denied any sexual relations with the defendant and she was tried for blackmail and making a false representation that she was pregnant. At the original trial evidence was called to say that she had lost the unborn child whilst visiting the toilet in a restaurant in Hong Kong. The jury acquitted the defendant of making a false representation – flatly rejecting the complainant’s evidence that there had been no sexual relations – but were unable to agree on the blackmail.
The case was set down for a retrial. Jeremy argued that this was an abuse of process because the Crown were relying on a witness who the jury had patently disbelieved and must have found to be a liar. In order to retry the blackmail that same witness would now be advanced as a witness of the truth on the very same matter. The indictment was quashed.

In another case at the Old Bailey, Jeremy’s client was acquitted of 6 out of 11 counts of buggery of a boy. The Judge set the case down for a retrial of the 5 counts where the jury could not agree.

Appearing before the Recorder of London, the very next day, Jeremy argued that this was unfair, as he could not very well challenge the credibility of the complainant without introducing the fact that there had been other, unbelievable, charges of which the defendant had been acquitted. The Recorder agreed and sent Prosecution counsel away “to take instructions”.

“I had to have a few goes to get it right, but,” he shrugged modestly, “we got there in the end.” (As Ron said to Harry.)