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Legal system and methods cases - Essay Example

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This case concerned an individual, David Thomas Donnell (appellant), who was convicted of recklessly discharging a firearm; murder; possessing an unregistered handgun and silencer, in contravention of Firearms Act 1968, Section 2(1); and possessing an unregistered shotgun,…
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Legal system and methods cases

The appellant raised two issues on appeal. The first issue was that the Advocate-depute included in their indictment Count 1, which was a count for false imprisonment of one Tracy McGhee, and Count 2 was for distributing Amphetamines, in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Section 4(3)(b). The issue on appeal was that the Advocate-deputes did not lead any evidence at trial for either of these Counts, therefore they should not have been included in the indictment. The appellant asked to separate these charges from the other charges, but this request was refused. Furthermore, the Advocate-depute did not attempt to rectify this by changing the indictment to omit these counts. The trial judge acquitted the appellant on these two charges, and gave explicit instructions to the jury not to consider these two counts. However, when the trial judge gave his instructions to the jury, he asked the jury to consider if including these counts in the indictment was fair or unfair. This is not the function of the jury, rather, the judge is to make this assessment.
The second issue on appeal was that a witness, Samuel Quigg, stated on the stand that he was indicted for conspiracy to commit robbery in 1988, along with the appellant, Mr. Donnell. This prejudiced the appellant, as evidence of any prior convictions cannot be used against him. Although this was not a prior conviction that was brought up by the witness, it was an indictment, the context was that he was being asked about his prior convictions, so the jury could probably assume that the witness was convicted along with appellant. This statement was volunteered by Mr. Quigg, not solicited by the Advocate-depute or the appellant’s solicitor, a fact that is significant.
That there was evidence of a prior conviction before the jury was in contravention of Section 101 of Scotland’s Criminal Procedure Act 1995. The appellant asked ... Read More
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