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Appeal court upholds 'joint enterprise' guilty verdicts

Posted on 01 November 2016. Source: The Guardian

Appeal court upholds 'joint enterprise' guilty verdicts

No convictions have been overturned in the first test appeals under a new interpretation of “joint enterprise” laws, dashing the hopes of those who claim they are victims of a widespread miscarriage of justice.

The decisions handed down by the criminal court of appeal on Monday will disappoint hundreds of imprisoned young people who had been considering bringing similar challenges.

Their hopes had been bolstered by a supreme court victory in February, which declared that judges had been misinterpreting the “foresight principle” in joint enterprise cases for 30 years.

Commenting on the appeal court ruling on joint enterprise, Alison Levitt QC, the former principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions and a partner at the law firm Mishcon de Reya, said: “The law, even as clarified by [by the supreme court], still leaves substantial room for concern about the position of those who, whilst guilty of murder as a matter of law, in reality played a lesser role.

Although this will not help those already convicted, perhaps this is now the time for parliament to give consideration to whether the offence of murder should now be divided into first and second degree murder.

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