More Indictment Confusion – R v J ; Burton [2018] EWCA Crim 2485

This case involved indictments uploaded onto the Digital Case system where Defendants were tried on indictments different to those they were arraigned on .

The difficulty on the appeal was that there was no suggestion the Defendants were not properly tried , simply that there was an irregularity relying on the old case authority of R v Clarke & McDaid .

The Court held there was no basis for finding that the trial was a nullity. In Poole [1961] AC 223 the court found that an accused may have two or more indictments outstanding against him for the same offence. The Prosecution must elect between them, and in the present cases there was a clear election to proceed with fresh indictments. The fact the appellants were not re-arraigned does not invalidate proceedings, the fresh indictment was read in their presence with the assumed fact they had pleaded not guilty.

The appeals were dismissed, the Court added:

“we emphasise that our conclusion should not in any way be taken to condone a lax or informal approach”. It was also emphasised that it was “the duty of both prosecution and defence to ensure that steps are taken to regularise the position as the case progresses and, in particular, that the form of indictment used at trial has received all necessary consideration.”

Categories: Caselaw, Criminal Appeals

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