High Court success for Libby Anderson

High Court success for Libby Anderson

Libby Anderson persuaded the High Court to quash her client’s conviction following a successful appeal by way of case stated before Sir Brian Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Mrs Justice McGowan.

Libby represented a man who had faced a charge of assault where the complainant did not attend for the Magistrates’ Court trial. Presence at the scene had been accepted on his behalf on the PET form. The court heard from an independent witness who saw an assault but had never taken part in identification procedures. The defendant did not give evidence and submissions were made as to identification and the possibility of error.

In delivering verdict the justices set out that they noted the acceptance on the PET form of presence at the scene. The PET form had never been before the court in evidence either by s.10 admissions or as hearsay.

Libby appealed to the High Court, contending that, although a PET form can be used as evidence, the correct procedure must be followed. The question for the High Court was whether the justices were entitled to consider the answers on the PET form even though the answers were not within Part Three Paragraph 9 entitled “Admissions”, and whether they could find the perpetrator was the defendant in the absence of any specific identification evidence presented by the Crown.

The appeal was allowed. As there had been no application under s.118 CJA 2003 to introduce the PET form in evidence nor was there a s.10 admission, this evidence was introduced improperly. The justices had confused “the provision of case management information with evidence without the same being formally adduced”.

The Crown can rely upon declarations contained in a PET form as evidence against a defendant, but such evidence must be properly introduced and argued so that the defence is in a position to make informed submissions.

The full judgement can be read here – Valiati v DPP [2018] EWHC 2908 (Admin)

 

Libby was instructed by Shofna Begum of Stewart Begum solicitors.