Attorney General v Lagadec

CourtRoyal Court
JudgeHamon, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Myles and Rumfitt:
Judgment Date11 October 1995
Date11 October 1995
Hamon, Deputy Bailiff and Jurats Myles and Rumfitt:

W.J. Bailhache, Crown Advocate, for the Crown;

Miss S.E. Fitz for the accused.

Cases cited:

(1) D. v. N.S.P.C.C., [1978] A.C. 171; [1977] 1 All E.R. 589; (1977), 76 L.G.R. 5; 121 Sol. Jo. 119, considered.

(2) Marks v. Beyfus (1890), 25 Q.B.D. 494; 63 L.T. 733; 6 T.L.R. 406; 59 L.J.Q.B. 479; 17 Cox, C.C. 196; 55 J.P. Jo. 182; 38 W.R. 705, applied.

(3) R. v. Agar, [1990] 2 All E.R. 442; [1990] Crim. L.R. 183; (1989), 90 Cr. App. R. 318; 154 J.P. 89, dicta of Mustill, L.J. applied.

(4) R. v. Hardy (1794), 24 State Tr. 199, applied.

(5) R. v. Reilly, [1994] Crim. L.R. 279, considered.

(6) R. v. Turner, [1995] 3 All E.R. 432; [1995] 2 Cr. App. R. 94, dicta of Lord Taylor, C.J. applied.

Additional cases cited by counsel:

R. v. Hallett, [1986] Crim. L.R. 462.

R. v. Langford, [1990] Crim. L.R. 653.

R. v. Slowcombe, [1991] Crim. L.R. 198.

Evidence—privilege—public interest immunity—identity of informant not to be disclosed, as matter of public policy, unless accused satisfies burden of proving disclosure essential to defence

The accused sought disclosure of the identity of an informant.

Customs officers, acting on information they had received from an informant, arrested the accused as he returned to Jersey in his boat, in which they found a quantity of drugs concealed. He denied knowledge of them but was charged with importation of and possession with intent to supply the drugs.

He subsequently made the present representation seeking disclosure of the identity of the informant, submitting that it was possible that the informant was a person with a grudge against him and it was therefore essential to his defence that this should be established.

The Crown submitted that as a matter of public policy the identity of informants should not be disclosed, since to do so would reduce their willingness to provide information to the authorities.

Held, dismissing the representation:

As a matter of public policy, to ensure the continued supply of information to the authorities by informants, the identity of an informant did not need to be disclosed unless that information were essential to the defence in proving its case, in which event it should be disclosed regardless of any promise of confidentiality made by the authorities to the informant in question. In the present case, the accused had not satisfied the burden of proving that there was a clear and demonstrable need for disclosure for him to conduct his defence properly and disclosure would accordingly not be ordered (page 330, line 29 - page 331, line 15; page 331, line 27 - page 332, line 44).

HAMON, DEPUTY BAILIFF: John James Lagadec has been charged with four counts involving the importation of with intent to supply cannabis resin and ecstasy tablets having a total street value of some £120,000. The facts of the case were outlined to us in the briefest form in that Lagadec and his...

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