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An appeal by way of case stated – unsafe conviction in the Youth Court

AB v Crown Prosecution Service Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court), [2017] EWHC 2963 (Admin)

This was an appeal by way of case stated from the Youth Court to the Administrative Court. The Administrative Court found that taken at its highest, the prosecution case was insufficient to permit any reasonable and properly directed jury to convict the appellant and the conviction was quashed.

Details

During the appellant’s Youth Court trial, the defence put forward a submission of no case to answer, which was rejected by the Justices.  The Administrative Court found that the prosecution evidence taken at its highest value was not capable of resulting in a safe conviction against the appellant, that there was no basis on which to draw an adverse inference form the appellant’s silence in interview and that proper reasoning for the rejection of the submission of no case to answer was not given. The court also noted that Magistrates are not professional judges and are increasingly overstretched.

Commentary

This case highlights the difficulties of trying children for serious offences in the Youth Court. Although there are benefits to the Youth Court as a venue, children miss out on the expertise of the Crown Court and this case – in which the appellant was unsafely convicted of robbery – is a good example of the problems which can arise.