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Appeal Rejected On The Grounds of Jury Prejudice By The Sheriff

HMA v Graham Patterson 2019

Mr Patterson has had his appeal against conviction rejected. The appellant argued at the appeal court in Edinburgh that the sheriff’s directions to the jury at Hamilton sheriff court during the trial allowed for prejudice. However, the appeal court did not agree. The appellant admitted that he sexually assaulted the complainer but denied any intent to rape her which he was also being charged with. He was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment after being found guilty.

The appellant argued that when the sheriff narrated to the jury the attack was “prolonged” and “fierce” this had a bearing of the jury and was prejudicial. Lord Brodie at the Appeal Court in Edinburgh stated: “We do not consider that the sheriff in the present case was guilty of impressing her views unduly upon the jury or otherwise materially misdirecting them. As always, regard must be had to the context in which she was giving her directions and the whole terms of her charge. The passages which are criticised are found in that part of the sheriff’s charge where she is addressing how the jury might use the CCTV evidence, together with the evidence of the complainer and the evidence of the appellant, to decide on what was the appellant’s intention when he carried out the assault.

Her purpose therefore was to direct the jury as to how they should go about determining what, if anything, had been the appellant’s intention when he assaulted the complainer… We do not consider that the appellant’s grounds of appeal are well-founded but, as always, the fundamental issue is whether there has been a miscarriage of justice. Given the evidence as summarised in the sheriff’s report and undisputed by the appellant, there can be no question of there having been a miscarriage of justice by reason of the jury concluding that the assault was with intent to rape.” The appeal was therefore refused.

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