Baksh v R¬†
¬† AC 167,  2 WLR 536, 102 Sol Jo 228
Judgment Date: circa 1958
Catchwords & Digest
CRIMINAL LAW, EVIDENCE AND PROCEDURE – APPEALS – APPEAL TO THE COURT OF APPEAL FOLLOWING TRIAL ON INDICTMENT – VENIRE DE NOVO AND RETRIAL – WHETHER POWER TO ORDER NEW TRIAL — FRESH EVIDENCE
Appellant and his co-accused (who had each relied on an alibi) having been convicted of murder, both appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal of British Guiana, who permitted to be produced and proved on the hearing of the appeal statements, which had not been available at the trial, made to the police by the three main witnesses for the prosecution. The Court of Criminal Appeal found that a comparison of the statements with the oral evidence given by those witnesses at the trial disclosed material discrepancies. They said in respect of appellant’s co-accused that in the interests of justice the value and weight of the new evidence should be determined by a jury and not by that court, and they quashed his conviction and ordered a new trial. In the case of appellant, however, they were of opinion that different considerations applied; they considered that nothing favourable to him could have been obtained from the statements which was not obtained at the trial, and held that the jury’s verdict in respect of him could not be disturbed on that ground: Held if the statements afforded material for serious challenge to the credibility or reliability of witnesses on matters vital to the case for the prosecution, the defence by cross-examination might have destroyed the whole case against both accused or, at any rate, shown that the evidence of those witnesses could not be relied on as sufficient to displace the evidence in support of the alibis. Their credibility could not be treated as divisible and accepted against one and rejected against the other. A new trial should have been ordered in both cases. The case would be remitted to the Court of Criminal Appeal with the direction that they should quash the conviction of appellant and either enter a verdict of acquittal or order a new trial, whichever course they considered proper in the interests of justice in the existing circumstances.