New Judgments: Allison v HM Advocate (Scotland)  UKSC 6; McInnes v HM Advocate (Scotland)  UKSC 7
10 Wednesday Feb 2010
In Allison, the live issue was the significance of the Crown’s failure to disclose outstanding charges against an individual, a police interview with whom had been introduced into evidence by the Crown. The Court was not persuaded that, if defence counsel had been able to deploy the individual’s outstanding charges as well as his previous convictions, this would have made any material difference. The Court was satisfied that there was no real possibility that the jury would have come to a different verdict on the charges against the defendant if they had been made aware of the outstanding charges against the individual. There had therefore been no miscarriage of justice.
In McInnes, the crucial issue at a trial for assault was the identification of the persons who participated in the assault. The Crown evidence included the statement of a steward at a nearby hotel who described how he witnessed the defendant assault the victim. However, the Crown did not disclose in advance of the trial that the steward failed to correctly identify the defendant at two separate identity verification parades. The question which the appeal court must ask itself was whether after taking account of all the circumstances of the trial, including the non-disclosure in breach of the defendant’s Convention right, the jury’s verdict should be allowed to stand. The question would be answered in the negative if there was a real possibility at a different outcome. The test to determine whether there had been a fair trial in terms of ECHR, art 6 was the same as that to be applied to determine whether there had been a miscarriage of justice. It was clear from the judgment of the High Court of Justiciary that it applied the correct legal test.
For judgments, please download:  UKSC 6 (Allison) and  UKSC 7 (McInnes)
For the Court’s press summaries, please download: Press Summary (Allison) and Press Summary (McInnes)
For a non-PDF version of the judgments, please visit: BAILII (Allison) and BAILII (McInnes)