Jogee: Court of Appeal refuses to grant leave to appeal in swathe of joint enterprise cases

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Mixed reaction from lawyers as 13 convictees’ applications dismissed


The Court of Appeal has shrugged off a raft of post-Jogee appeals this morning, sparking a mixed reaction from the profession.

Readers may remember the 2016 criminal law case of Ameen Jogee, a hugely important Supreme Court judgment that saw the law of joint enterprise drastically changed.

Jogee was convicted of the murder of a police officer under the doctrine of joint enterprise, which — at its most basic — states all participates in a joint criminal enterprise will be criminally liable for the harm that results from that enterprise.

He successfully challenged the doctrine in the highest court in the land, with Lord Neuberger and co agreeing the law had been “wrongly interpreted”. More than 30 years of case law was overruled, making way for a more defendant-friendly mens rea requirement.

Jogee himself was retried and eventually convicted of manslaughter, and others are now attempting to rely on the Supreme Court case to challenge their convictions.

Thirteen such applications were considered by three of the country’s top judges this morning. The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Leveson and Lady Justice Hallett had to decide whether — given the Supreme Court judgment — the convictions at hand amounted to a “substantial injustice”. The Court of Appeal said it didn’t.

The news has prompted a polarised reaction.

Anonymous blogger the Secret Barrister said the ruling was “not unexpected”, while Garden Court barrister Joanne Cecil went for “unsurprising”.

Others have taken issue with the decision — known as Johnson after the lead appellant Lewis Johnson — largely because of the court’s adoption of the “substantial injustice” test.

Take Leicester law professor Martin George.

Doughty Street Chambers’ Harriet Johnson echoed this.

Barrister Adam Wagner, who represented Jogee in the Supreme Court alongside Felicity Gerry QC, said the “substantial injustice” terminology wasn’t part of either party’s submission but the court’s “surprise conclusion”, which makes it obiter.

Today’s ruling, he concluded, should be appealed.

You can read the full judgment here: