The appellants were charged and convicted on two counts of conspiracy to defraud. There were two separate particulars pertaining to each count, each involving different appellants. The trial judge convicted all appellants on both counts and sentenced them each to over 7 years imprisonment. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellants’ appeals.
Held: The appeals were unanimously allowed and the convictions of all appellants quashed. The particulars included different dishonest means with different alleged co-conspirators and therefore included two different conspiracies.
Furthermore, the jury was directed that in order to convict all the appellants, it would be sufficient for ‘at least’ two of the accused to be part of a conspiracy. In this way there is a risk that the jury may have convicted without actually agreeing on the particulars of the dishonest means, and which of the appellants were part of the conspiracy. For these reasons, the convictions against all of the appellants were unsafe.
A re-trial was ordered, with the prosecution given the choice to amend the present indictment or issue a new one.
Clare Montgomery QC and Tim Owen QC were involved in this case.