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Is it right that a person can be convicted of a serious offence on hearsay evidence alone?

View profile for Correna Platt
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On the 6th February 2013 judgment was handed down in the case of R v Adeojo, Nyamupfukudza  at the Court of Appeal (2013 EWCA Crim 41 case no: 201200231D1).

Central to the rule is that in the absence of an opportunity for the defence to cross examine key witnesses, the admission of the evidence would not be permitted unless the jury could safely conclude that it is reliable.

The fact is however that an unwilling witness statement can be read in certain circumstances and that this can result in convictions for serious offences.

In considering whether there is a ground to appeal against a conviction, it would be necessary to consider:

  • The safeguards and counter balancing measures present
  • The reliability of the statement
  • The honesty of the maker of the statement
  • The supporting evidence
  • The directions of the Judge in advising the jury how to consider this evidence

It is important that such decisions are considered and where necessary challenged.

It is a person’s right to have a fair trial.

By solicitor and Partner, Correna Platt

  • Please do contact our criminal appeals team if you require expert legal advise in respect of an appeal against conviction/sentence .