Joint Enterprise: Judges Got It Wrong – Help Them Fight For Justice
On 18th February 2016 The Supreme Court ruled that the common law doctrine of JOINT ENTERPRISE had ‘taken a wrong turn’ in 1984.Whilst acknowledging that the general principle of joint enterprise was justified, The Supreme Court ruled that the application of the law had been misinterpreted by the judiciary for 30 years, leading to thousands of possibly wrongful convictions. It is this misinterpretation of the law that has been corrected, not the substantive law itself. It has always been accepted when someone is murdered it is not just the person who delivered the fatal blow that is guilty. Society has always held the view that those who assist and encourage that murder should also be convicted and punished accordingly.
However, over the last 30 years those who do not assist or encourage the murder, but instead merely foresaw the possibility that someone could be killed, have also been convicted and sentenced alongside the killer for murder.
That is the issue The Supreme Court remedied by reinstating the law as it was 30 years ago and holding that a person cannot be convicted of murder unless they intentionally assisted or encouraged that murder.
JENGbA say that it must be acknowledged that those who have been convicted of murder, when the current application of the law states that they should have been convicted of a lesser offence, then obviously miscarriages of justice have occurred and the courts should be keen to correct it. But The Supreme Court has made clear that the decision is not automatically retrospective and there are thousands of cases which will not be affected as they have exhausted the appeal system.
The Supreme Court ruling said in paragraph 100 of the judgement,
“Where a conviction has been arrived at by faithfully applying the law as it stood at the time, it can be set aside only by seeking exceptional leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal out of time. That court has power to grant such leave, and may do so if substantial injustice be demonstrated, but it will not do so simply because the law applied has now been declared to have been mistaken.
A joint enterprise case, perhaps more than most murders, requires a narrative. The jury must be made to understand how a fractured and sometimes confusing evidential picture, involving multiple participants with different types and levels of involvement, should be assembled. ~ Guardian Fri 9 Mar 2018