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R v (1) Christopher Michael Boyle (2) David Ford

A misdirection concerning adverse inferences did not necessarily render a conviction unsafe in circumstances where there was a compelling case against the defendants and they did not have an explanation that would have stood up to scrutiny.

8 September 2006

The appellants (B and F) appealed against their convictions for murder. B and F had been accused of killing a drug dealer (G) at his home. G had been shot at point blank range in the neck with a sawn off shotgun and stabbed repeatedly with two different knives in the head, face, neck and body. G's body and home had then been doused in petrol and set alight. There was significant evidence linking B and F to the murder, including DNA and other forensic evidence. In their initial interviews, B and F had been advised not to answer questions. At the trial the judge directed the jury as to the adverse inferences they could draw from that silence. It was accepted by both parties that the direction was a significant misdirection in light of current standards under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.34. B and F contended that the judge had erred in his summing up by failing to direct the jury that they had to be satisfied that B and F's silence could only be attributed to their...

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