Waite v AG

JurisdictionJersey
CourtCourt of Appeal
JudgeJonathan Sumption,Geoffrey Rowland,Bailiff,John Martin
Judgment Date11 September 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] JCA 170
Date11 September 2007

[2007] JCA 170

COURT OF APPEAL

Before:

Jonathan Sumption, Esq., Q.C., President; Geoffrey Rowland, Esq., Bailiff of Guernsey, Q.C.; and John Martin, Esq., Q.C.

Michael Waite
and
The Attorney General

M. T. Jowitt, Esq., Crown Advocate.

Advocate D. S. Steenson as Amicus for Mr Waite.

Authorities

Court of Appeal (Jersey) Law 1961.

Criminal Appeal Act 1907.

Aladesuru v R [1956] AC 49.

AG v Edmond-O'Brien [2006] JLR 13.

O'Connor and Others v AG [2007] JCA 104.

Rimmer, Lusk and Bade v AG [2001] JLR 373.

AG v Mawer and Waite [2006] JRC 179.

Application for leave to appeal against the conviction by the Assize Court on 3 rd November and the sentence passed by the Superior Number of the Royal Court on 5 th December, 2006, on a not guilty plea to:

1 count of: Conspiracy to contravene Article 5 (b) of the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law, 1978. (Count 1).

THE PRESIDENT:
1

On 3 rd November 2006, Michael Waite was convicted by the Royal Court on one count of conspiring with Thomas Mawer and Meena Broom to supply heroin in Jersey. Miss Broom, who was tried with him, was acquitted. Mr. Mawer pleaded guilty. Mr. Waite was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. He has applied to this court for leave to appeal against both conviction and sentence. On the hearing of his application, Mr. Waite represented himself, but was assisted by an amicus curiae, Mr. Steenson, appointed by the Court. Mr. Steenson was able to discuss the matter with Mr. Waite, and put Mr. Waite's points to us as persuasively as any Advocate could have done. However, at the conclusion of his argument, and after confirming with Mr. Waite that there was nothing that he wished to add, we indicated that we did not think that this was an appropriate case for leave to appeal, and rejected the application as to both conviction and sentence. We now propose to state briefly our reasons for that decision.

Conviction
2

As with so many appeals against conviction, it is necessary to start by pointing out the limited basis on which the Court of Appeal may review criminal convictions. Article 26(1) of the Court of Appeal (Jersey) Law 1961 substantially reproduces Section 4 of the English Criminal Appeal Act 1907. It empowers the Court of Appeal to allow an appeal against conviction only if it is unreasonable, or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence or was vitiated by an error of law or miscarriage of justice. There is no equivalent in Jersey of the wider power which has existed in England since 1968 to allow an appeal on the ground that the verdict is "unsafe or unsatisfactory". The form of appellate jurisdiction which exists in Jersey confers what has been described by the Privy Council as a "limited right of appeal which precludes the court from reviewing the evidence and making its own valuation thereof": Aladesuru v R [1956] AC 49, at 54-5; cf. AG v Edmond-O'Brien [2006] JLR 133. The Court of Appeal may allow an appeal if there was no case to answer, or if there was no evidence which a reasonable jury could have accepted. Otherwise, it may allow an appeal only on the ground of error of law or miscarriage of justice.

3

In this case, although all the available statutory grounds are recited in the notice of application, it has not in the event been suggested that there was any error of law or miscarriage of justice. No complaint is made about the Deputy Bailiff's summing up, which was both thorough and impeccably fair. Nor is it suggested that there was no case to answer. The application is made on the ground that the conviction was unreasonable.

4

As in many cases of this kind, there was no direct evidence against Mr. Waite, but a great deal of circumstantial evidence. The story starts with Mr. Waite's co-Defendants, Mr. Mawer and Miss Broom, who arrived in Jersey in December 2005 and lived together, initially at the Ocean Walk Guest House at St. Brelade. Mr. Mawer was an unemployed heroin addict, who was undoubtedly engaged at this time in retailing heroin. A memorandum found at the time of his arrest was attributed on the basis of expert handwriting evidence to Miss Broom, and according to her evidence was dictated to her by Mr. Mawer. There was expert evidence, barely challenged by the defence, that it recorded the purchase or possibly a proposal to purchase five ounces (140 grams) of heroin for £3,000, which is a price consistent only with its having been acquired in the United Kingdom. The memorandum recorded a proposal to sell it in bags of 0.1 grams at £50 each, making a total turnover of £70,000 on that consignment. The proceeds were to be divided 20/80 between ' us' (Mr. Mawer and Miss Broom) and ' M' (by inference the importer into Jersey).

5

The Crown's case against Mr. Waite depended on inferences which they invited the jury to draw from the following principal matters:

  • (i) Mr. Waite was an unemployed jobseeker, living in Derby, who came over to Jersey on two occasions, once from 6 th to 12 th January 2006, and once on 19 th January 2006. There was considerable contact between the three Defendants on both occasions. On the first visit, he checked into the Ocean Walk Guest-house in St. Brelade, where Mr. Mawer and Miss Broom were then staying, and spent time with them. On the second occasion, on 19 th January, he visited them at the flat to which they had by then moved, in St. Peter. Miss Broom gave evidence that while he was there he helped bag up the heroin in the flat. He then walked to the Ocean Walk Guest-house where he proposed to stay. Mr. Waite and Mr. Mawer were together at the Guest-house when they were arrested later that day. The mobile phone records of the three Defendants show much telephone contact between Mr. Waite and the other two before and...

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3 cases
  • Bhojwani v AG
    • Jersey
    • Court of Appeal
    • 10 February 2011
    ...JLR 407 . Styles v AG [2006] JLR 210 . Hamilton v AG [2010] JCA 136A . R v Hopkins-Husson [1949] 34 Cr. App. R. 47 . Waite v. AG [2007] JCA 170 . Barton v. AG [2007] JCA 172 . Taylor v. Law Officers of the Crown [2007–8] GLR 207 . R v. Exall (1866) 176 ER 850 . AG v Bhojwani [2010] JR......
  • John Tasker Lewis; Ian Michael Christmas; Russell Philip Foot; James Cameron v The Attorney General
    • Jersey
    • Court of Appeal
    • 18 April 2013
    ...(Guernsey C.A. Judgments 88) . R v Hopkins-Husson [1949] 34 Cr. App. Rep. 47 . Styles and Others v AG [2006] JCA 095 . Waite v AG [2007] JCA 170 . Barton v AG [2007] JCA 172 . Taylor v Law Officers of the Crown in the Court of Appeal in Guernsey GLR 2007/8 . R v Hulusi and Purvis 58 Cr. A......
  • Lewis, Christmas, Foot and Cameron v Attorney General
    • Jersey
    • Court of Appeal
    • 18 April 2013
    ...Secy. v. Markus, [1976] A.C. 35; [1975] 2 W.L.R. 708; [1975] 1 All E.R. 958; (1975), 61 Cr. App. R. 58, applied. (48) Waite v. Att. Gen., [2007]JCA170; C.A., September 11th, 2007, unreported, referred to. (49) Wicks v. Law Officers, 2011 12 GLR 482, referred to. Legislation construed: Court......

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