JOINT ENTERPRISE JUDGMENT COULD MEAN TRANCHE OF CRIMINAL APPEALS
KRW LAW LLP is Northern Ireland’s leading criminal defence firm of solicitors and has represented clients in some of the most high profile and controversial criminal prosecutions including murder.
We welcome the judgment of the UK Supreme Court yesterday regarding the law of joint enterprise. The law on joint enterprise has resulted in people being convicted even if they were not responsible for the violent act, including one resulting in death. Defendants have been convicted on the basis that they “could” have foreseen such violent acts perpetrated by others, for example criminal associates. The UK Supreme Court has now ruled it was wrong to treat “foresight” as a sufficient test. The judgment reverses this element of criminal law which has been in existence for 30 years.
However, the change to the law is not retrospective: anyone convicted on the basis of the previous interpretation of the law on joint enterprise and the foresight test intending to challenge their conviction on this point will need to demonstrate that they would suffer “substantial injustice” if they were not allowed to appeal.
Kevin Winters of KRW LAW LLP said:
“We welcome this judgment of the UK Supreme Court on this important point of law in criminal trials. We will be reviewing all the relevant cases in which we were instructed and where the joint enterprise point was in issue in light of this ruling. This will include both our recent cases on this point and also cases in which we are instructed which are related to criminal acts during the Conflict. We are not able to comment on specific cases at this point until we have conducted a full and thorough review and considered the substantial injustice point if an appeal were lodged and refused.”