Hamer, R v, Court of Appeal - Criminal Division, August 17, 2010, [2010] EWCA Crim 2053

Issuing Organization:Criminal Division
Actores:Hamer, R v
Resolution Date:August 17, 2010
 
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SMITH BERNAL WORDWAVE

No. 2010/00609/B2

Neutral Citation Number: [2010] EWCA Crim 2053

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London

WC2A 2LL

Tuesday 17 August 2010

B e f o r e:

LORD JUSTICE THOMAS

MR JUSTICE TREACY

and

MR JUSTICE SAUNDERS

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R E G I N A

- v -

GARETH HAMER

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Mr J McCrindell appeared on behalf of the Appellant

Mr S Gledhill appeared on behalf of the Crown

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J U D G M E N TTuesday 17 August 2010

LORD JUSTICE THOMAS:

INTRODUCTION

1. On 11 July 2008 the appellant and a taxi driver had a fight. It was the Crown's case that the appellant assaulted the taxi driver by striking him in the mouth which resulted in significant injury to his front teeth. It was the appellant's case that he acted in self-defence and that the injury to the taxi driver came about through accident or through some other cause, but that it was certainly not his aggression.

2. The appellant was charged and committed for trial on 19 December 2008. It is a matter of regret that the trial did not take place for over a year. On 12 January 2010, in the Crown Court at Harrow, before his Honour Judge Holt and a jury, the appellant was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

3. The appellant had no previous convictions or cautions. However, on 7 October 2008 he had been issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder ("PND") by the Metropolitan Police. Counsel on behalf of the appellant and the Crown both proposed to put before the jury a formal admission that the appellant had no previous convictions or cautions. Counsel for the Crown very properly told the judge that the appellant had been issued with a PND. The judge indicated that he was prepared to give a good character direction, but only if the jury were told that the appellant had been issued with a PND, although the details should not be given because he considered that they were prejudicial. He said that he would tell the jury that they might think it totally irrelevant, but they were to be given the full picture. Before the appellant gave evidence, an admission was read to the jury to the effect that the appellant had no previous convictions or cautions and that

"On 17 October 2008 [the appellant] was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice in relation to an alleged minor public order offence."

The appellant then gave evidence.

4. The evidence having been given on a Friday, over the weekend counsel for the appellant diligently considered the matter again. On the Monday he made a further submission to the judge, but the judge upheld the decision that he had made.

5. When he came to sum the matter up to the jury, the judge gave a good character direction, but he added this:

"You have heard about the [appellant]. You know he is a man of 47 years old. You have heard that he has one very minor matter; the lowest possible rung of the criminal justice system; a fixed penalty for a minor public disorder.

Having heard about that, members of the jury, you may think the fair thing to do is just forget about it. It is right that you are told and so nothing is withheld from you, but you may think that the fairest thing to do is to treat this man as a man of good character."

6. At the conclusion of the summing-up the jury retired to consider their verdict. After a retirement of about four hours they returned with a verdict of guilty. The appellant was subsequently...

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