R v E – Historic Appeals Principles Still Relevant

The Decision of the Lord Chief Justice in R v F [ 2011 ] EWCA Crim 1844 had left many believing this amounted to the court restricting the interpretation of abuse applications  on the basis of delay back to the originating principles set out in AG Reference .

However the post F case of R v E [ 2012 ] EWCA Crim 791 has emphasised that this is an erroneous interpretation and that the key principles of delay and its effect on the fairness of the process will remain a matter to which the Court will have regard to . Essentially therefore the principles applied in successful cases such as Sheikh , Burke and Joynson remain the correct approach but where documents lost would not answer conclusively an allegation or where directions or other steps can protect the fairness of the process the Court will not intervene such as in Mackreth and now in E .

The ultimate question remains therefore whether the delay and consequent lost documents are so central  to the allegations that their loss means no fair trial could be held .

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