On appeal from: [2018] EWCA Crim 2843.

The appellant was arrested in the United Kingdom in 2017 and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit torture and seven counts of torture, contrary to the Criminal Justice Act 1988, s 134. The charges relate to events in the early stages of the first Liberian civil war in 1990 when an armed group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia took control of parts of Liberia. Its leader, Charles Taylor, subsequently became President of Liberia in 1997. The point of law raised in the appeal related to the correct interpretation of the term “person acting in an official capacity” in s 134(1) of the 1988 Act. The Court of Appeal held that s 134 is not confined to individuals acting on behalf of a State.

By a majority, the Supreme Court substantially agreed with the conclusion of the Court of Appeal, but because of further evidence from the prosecution’s expert produced after the judgment of the Court of Appeal, it allowed the appeal to the limited extent of remitting the matter to the judge for further consideration in the light of that further evidence and the judgment of the Supreme Court.

For judgment, please download: [2019] UKSC 51
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII