Court of Appeal rejects joint enterprise challenges


Judges upheld guilty verdicts against 13 men in the first test appeals brought under a new interpretation of the joint enterprise law.

The cases came before the Court of Appeal after the Supreme Court ruled in February that the controversial law had been interpreted incorrectly for more than 30 years.

The doctrine of joint enterprise had allowed people to be convicted of murder even if they had not inflicted the fatal blow, but if they could have foreseen the violent acts of others.

But in the landmark case of R v Jogee, the Supreme Court ruled that the test based on foresight alone was an insufficient basis on which to convict a defendant, giving hope to many young, predominantly black and ethnic minority, men who claimed they were victims of a miscarriage of justice.

The Court of Appeal examined the facts of each of the individual cases, but found that none of the convictions was unsafe.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, said that given the jury’s finding of facts, the verdicts would have been no different. Quoting the Supreme Court’s ruling, he said that correcting the law was ‘not to render invalid all convictions arrived at over many years by faithfully applying the law’.

The decisions were greeted by shouts of ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘Shame on the court’ by campaigners and members of the defendants’ families in the court.

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