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Joint enterprise was the gift that kept on giving

The new regime should remind the police and the CPS of their duties not to pursue allegations that do not have merit, regardless of public and media pressure, writes John Cooper QC

19 February 2016

The joint enterprise decision in the Supreme Court which has declared that the courts had been misinterpreting the law of joint enterprise since the mid-80s has already been hotly debated and rightly so: this controversial piece of law has been responsible for convicting people of murder simply on the basis of their presence with others.

Indeed, it has been the tool of choice by the police in so-called 'gang-related cases', where over the years convictions seem to have fallen from the tree based on the joint enterprise principle. Many of the convicted defendants have been young or vulnerable people, finding themselves all too easily convicted, purely on the joint enterprise approach and sent into custody to continue their criminal education.

The real problem with the old joint enterprise regime was that from a conviction point of view, that is, from a police and Crown Prosecution Service (CP...

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