HC Deb 10 November 1911 vol 30 cc2045-6W

asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been drawn to the remarks of the judges of the Court of Criminal Appeal in the recent case of R. v. Ellsom in which they regretted that they had no power under the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, to order a new trial, but were compelled simply to quash the conviction in all cases where they decided that it had been wrongfully obtained, even though the wrong were only technical; and whether, seeing that the same opinion has been expressed on many occasions by the judges of the Criminal Appeal Court, His Majesty's Government will consider the propriety of passing a short amending Act, to give the court the necessary power to grant a new trial in appropriate cases?


The hon. Member is wrong in assuming that the Court is compelled to quash the conviction in cases where a technical mistake has taken place for the Act (Section 4 (1) paragraph (2) provides "that the Court may, notwithstanding that they are of opinion that the point raised in the appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, dismiss the appeal if they consider that no substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred." In the case of Rexv. Ellsom there appears to be no doubt that the misdirection went to the root of the whole case, and was not merely a technical matter. The proposal to introduce legislation to enable the Court of Criminal Appeal to grant a new trial in appropriate cases is now under the consideration of the Government.