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Murder Conviction Quashed On Appeal

HMA v Adam Lundy 2018

Adam Lundy was found guilty of the murder of a neighbour, Mr Kiltie, after a Trial in 2016. An argument began between the appellant and thMe victim over loud noise coming from the appellant’s home as he had guests. The appellant argued that he acted in self defence as the victim had a baseball bat and came looking for a fight.

The appellant struck the deceased with a knife on four occasions. However, he has now had his conviction quashed after the appeal Court ruled there has been a “miscarriage of justice” due to “inaccurate, misleading and improper comments” made by the Crown during the closing speech. The appeal was allowed after it was considered by the Appeal Court that the advocate depute’s conduct constituted “serious contraventions of accepted rules of practice.” They also observed that the Trial judge had not remarked on this as should have been done.

The Trial judge stated in a report to the appeal Court that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the appellant has stabbed the victim but the real question was if this was in self defence. However, the appellant argued that the Crown misled the jury by stating that there was no DNA of the deceased was on the bat. It was not pointed out by the Judge that the Advocate Depute has made this statement incorrectly.

The advocate depute also asked the Jury consider the deceased family and became emotive in relation to Mr Kilties death blaming this on the appellant also referring to his drug use. The Judge gave standard directions of the use of sympathy and did clarify the drug use was not on the libel but nothing more. Overall the appellant argued this amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

The appeal court agreed stating that there was “clear breaches of well-known and well-understood principles.” Lord Justice Clerk said in delivering the Appeal Courts decision: “The trial judge did not take such action. She gave general directions that the jury could not allow feelings of sympathy to enter into their deliberations but did not link these directions with correcting anything said in the advocate depute’s speech…” He concluded, “Unfortunately…the directions of the trial judge did not sufficiently restore that balance. In the circumstances the appeal must succeed and the conviction must be quashed.”

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