R v Morgan (Carl)
R v Morgan (Carl)
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
19 September 2007
 EWCA Crim 2236; Official Transcript
Subject: Criminal evidence
Keywords: Murder; Hostile witnesses; Witness statements; Threats; Fresh evidence
Summary: A conviction for murder was safe as the jury was entitled to rely upon the original witness statements of a hostile witness who had identified the offender but who subsequently resiled from the statements out of fear.
Abstract: The appellant (M) appealed against his conviction for murder.
It was the prosecution’s case that following a dispute, M had shot the victim (S). According to a police officer, who had attended the scene, a witness (W) had informed him that he had seen the shooting from very close range. W had made a number of statements, one of which identified M as the man who had shot S. W had also described the weapon used by M and had stated that M’s co-defendant had instructed M to shoot S. At a video identification parade, W had identified M as the gunman. However, during cross-examination, W had stated that he did not know who had shot S. He claimed that he had been threatened. W was declared hostile. Following M’s conviction W made a witness statement alleging impropriety against the police in obtaining the witness statement. M sought to rely on that fresh evidence. In the instant appeal, W again resiled from his statement identifying M.
Appeal dismissed. (1) There was no sufficient evidence of any impropriety by the police in obtaining the original witness statements from W. (2) However, in the exercise of the duty to ensure M’s conviction was safe, the court considered what W had said in his original statements and what he had said during the cross-examination and in the instant appeal. It was inconceivable that W could not remember who had shot S. On the evidence, there was no doubt that W had been the subject of threats and that he was terrified, and that he had been placed in secure accommodation to preserve his safety. In the circumstances, the jury was entitled to rely upon the witness statements made by W. M’s conviction was safe.
Judge: Hooper LJ; Pitchford J; Sir Richard Curtis
Counsel: For the appellant: Mr Fisher QC, DP Armstrong For the Crown: R Horwell QC, C Ayleh
Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c.44) s.119