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Murder Conviction Successfully Appealed

HMA v Ralph Goodie 2020

Mr Goodie has successfully appealed against his murder conviction at the High Court ofJusticiary. The High Court agreed with the appellant’s argument that a miscarriage of justice had taken place. Mr Goldie was found guilty after trial of murdering his friend after a night out. He was charged with the murder by pushing his friend down the stairs then ‘repeatedly kicking and stamping’ on him. The jury, however, when finding him guilty of the charge deleted the word ‘push’ from the indictment. The judge had directed the jury in his charge that the jury had to be satisfied that it was the appellant that caused the complainer to fall down the stairs. Therefore, their deletion of the word push was not in line with the directions given.

The trial judge considered that this was a competent verdict to return. However, the High Court did not agree and instead agreed with the appellant and confirmed that the jury’s decision was “self-contradictory” therefore not competent.

Lord Justice Clerk stated:“Given the evidence of the forensic pathologist, what was required from the trial judge was a clear direction to the jury that in order for them to convict of either murder or culpable homicide they had to be satisfied that the appellant had committed an assault on the deceased which had caused him to fall down the stairs…The trial judge should have taken the course of action urged upon him by senior counsel for the appellant. His failure to do so leaves a verdict from which, taking into account both the evidence and the judge’s charge, the basis of the appellant’s conviction for murder cannot reasonably be discerned. We are satisfied that the result is a miscarriage of justice and the appeal must succeed.” The appellant has now pled guilty to a charge of culpable homicide but the murder conviction is overturned.

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