R v H Reading Magistrates Court 2018

The defendant was charged with racially aggravated common assault. A lady with no previous convictions, cautions or reprimands. She stood to lose her good character in the event of conviction. Following effective yet sensitive cross-examination of the complainant in this case, the District Judge found the defendant not guilty. This ensures that she remains of good character.

R v JA – Reading Magistrates Court 2018 

The defendant was charged alongside two others with the theft of lead flashing. An independent eye-witness stated that they saw a man removing the flashing from the porch of a house and loading it into a van, in which sat two more men. The eye-witness provided the van’s registration details to the police. 20 minutes later, the van was caught on CCTV at a nearby scrap metal yard. Three men were seen unloading the flashing. The van was pulled over by police shortly after, and the defendant arrested. Hennessy and Hammudi successfully argued that the eye-witness evidence should be excluded as the police had failed to carry out a video identification parade to determine whether the defendant was one of the men the eye-witness had seen at the time of the original theft. The defendant was acquitted.

R v KR– Oxford Magistrates Court Road Traffic

The defendant, a Polish National, was charged with drink driving having provided a sample of breath at the police station. Hennessy and Hammudi persuaded the Court that the incriminating breath sample should be excluded on the basis that, during the breathalyser procedure, the defendant had not properly understood the statutory warning that he would be prosecuted for failure to provide a sample. The defendant was acquitted.

R v Beales Reading Magistrates Court 2018

The defendant appeared for trial in relation to an offence of theft by shoplifting and criminal damage. The defendant was alleged to have made admissions to the store manager after the store manager had detained him and said that if he returned his property, the store manager would let him go. It was argued on behalf of the defendant that the admissions ought to be excluded on the basis that the store manager had no power to detain the defendant in those circumstances. The District Judge agreed with defence representations and dismissed the case against the defendant.

R v Poskitt Reading magistrates court June 2018

H&H made a successful claim for judicial review against Reading Magistrates’ Court, in a decision that clarifies the scope of what is often deemed as the magistrates’ “slip rule” (section 142 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980). In a summary trial, the District Judge purported to use section 142 to reverse the decision of a different bench to admit non-defendant bad character evidence. H&H instructed Rupert Wheeler of 23 Essex Street to argue in High Court proceedings that the DJ’s decision was unlawful and irrational in the circumstances. 

Hennessy and Hammudi successful in overturning pre-trial ruling in the High Court

In granting the claim for judicial review, the High Court found that section 142 could not be used prior to the defendant being convicted, and that the DJ’s decision was irrational.

It is incredibly rare for the High Court to interfere with a pre-trial ruling in the Magistrates’ Court. This case was held to be an exception to the general rule that relief is not available before a trial concludes. 

The case, R (Poskitt) v Reading Magistrates’ Court [2018] EHWC 984 (Admin); [2018] 2 Cr. App. R. 17, has also been reported in the Blackstone’s Criminal Practice, Criminal Law Review ([2018] Crim. L.R. 761) and Archbold Review (Arch. Rev. 2018, 5, 2).

R v VB Reading Magistrates Court

The defendant was charged with battery. The complainant alleged that he was walking with his girlfriend when he was sucker-punched by the defendant, who he claimed to recognise having met him at least 20 times. The defendant’s vehicle was captured on CCTV within 200 meters of the location only minutes beforehand. In his police interview, the defendant denied involvement, and stated he had not seen the complainant for 8 years as he had been in prison. Hennessy and Hammudi argued that the complainant’s identification of the defendant should be excluded because the police had failed to carry out a video identification parade to test the complainant’s ability to recognise the defendant. The ID evidence was excluded, and the defendant was acquitted.