Carl Pritchett, Nathan Langston 2007 Feb 14 Court of Appeal

Carl Pritchett’s and Nathan Langstons appeals were dismissed.  Carl had been convicted of one count of keeping a brothel used for prostitution.

This post will be referenced in [3] Cathy Fox Blog to be published Sex Slavery – Slave Girl Return to Hell by Sarah Forsyth and Tim Tate

For indexes of Court of Appeal Documents and newspaper articles:

An Index / Timeline of Newspaper Articles on Cathy Fox Blog [1]

An Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog [2]

[2007] EWCA Crim 586

No: 200604630/B4-200606558/B4


Royal Courts of Justice


London, WC2

WEDNESDAY, 14th February 2007

Lord Justice Keene

Mrs Justice Dobbs DBE

Mr Justice Walker



Nathan Langston

Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of A Merrill
Communications Company Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited 190 Fleet Street
London EC4A 2AG Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838 (Official
Shorthand Writers to the Court)

MR S STIRLING appeared on behalf of the APPELLANTS

MR J BUTTERFIELD appeared on behalf of the CROWN


(As Approved by the Court)

1. LORD JUSTICE KEENE : On 7th July 2006 at Wolverhampton Crown Court,
before His Honour Judge Dudley, the appellant and the applicant were
convicted of one count of keeping a brothel used for prostitution, contrary
to section 33A of the Sexual Offences Act 1956. The appellant, Pritchett,
was subsequently sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment and the applicant,
Langston, to a community order of 180 hours unpaid work. Mr Pritchett now
appeals against conviction by leave of the Single Judge and Mr Langston’s
application for an extension of time and for leave to appeal against
conviction has been referred to this Court by the Registrar. We grant his
applications and we therefore treat both men as appellants. A co-defendant
at the Crown Court, Susan Richards, changed her plea to one of guilty and
was given a community order with 250 hours of unpaid work required.

2. Section 33A of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 was in fact inserted into
that statute by an amendment contained in the Sexual Offences Act 2003,
section 55. That makes it an offence to keep, or to manage or act or assist
in the management of a brothel to which people resort for practices
including prostitution. This new provision came into effect on 1st May 2004
and it is not contended that it has retrospective effect so as to catch
activities taking place before that date.

3. In the form in which the indictment in the present case was originally
worded and signed, no problem arose. It alleged that the three named
defendants, on 29th September 2005, had kept, or managed, or acted or
assisted in the management of a brothel, namely “Cuddles”, 497 Hagley Road,
Bearwood. That charge arose out of a police raid on those premises on that
date in September 2005. There was ample evidence that the premises were
being used as a brothel within the terms of section 33A on that date. For
example, police found a number of scantily clad women on the premises,
condoms, wet Tampons and a couple who were having sexual intercourse. There
was further evidence to similar effect.

4. The central issue at trial was whether these appellants knowingly
managed or assisted in the management of those premises as a brothel. In
order to help prove their case on this issue, the prosecution wished to
rely on certain documentation earlier than the date of the police raid, and
they applied, at a pre-trial hearing, to amend the indictment. That
amendment was unopposed and it was duly granted. As amended the indictment
charged the appellants and their co-defendant with committing the section
33A offence “between the 15th October 1998 and the 30th day of September
2005”. Nobody appears to have woken up to the fact that such an offence
could only relate to 1st May 2004 and later, possibly because the new
provision appears in the 1956 Act. In any event this defect remained
unnoticed throughout the trial. Only after sentence had been passed, on
30th August 2006, did counsel for the appellant Pritchett realise that
there was a defect. It is the consequences of that defect and of the
judge’s directions to the jury which form the basis of these appeals.

5. The first ground advanced on behalf of both appellants is that the
indictment did not comply with the Indictments Act 1915, section 3, and
Rules 5 and 6 of the Indictment Rules 1971. Section 3(1) of the 1915 Act
requires an indictment to contain a statement of the specific offence or
offences charged “together with such particulars as may be
necessary for giving reasonable information as to the nature of the
charge”. Rule 6 of the 1971 Rules requires the particulars of the offence
to “disclose the essential elements of the offence.” There then follows a
proviso in these terms: “provided that an essential element need not be
disclosed, if the accused person is not prejudiced or embarrassed in his
defence by the failure to disclose it.”

6. On behalf of the appellants, Mr Stirling argues that the particulars
given in this indictment included a period when the offence complained of
did not exist, that is to say the period prior to 1st May 2004. In
consequence, it is said, the indictment was and is invalid. The particulars
cannot extend beyond the period covered by the statute. Moreover, submits
Mr Stirling, a defendant is entitled to know when the alleged offence is
taking place and the case which he has to meet. No authority has been cited
to us on behalf of the appellants in support of the proposition that the
error identified in the present case in the particulars of offence render
the indictment null and void.

7. It seems clear to this Court that the way in which the indictment was
ultimately formulated did give rise to an irregularity. That, however, is
not the end of the matter. The question is whether that defect renders the
indictment automatically a nullity, so that the convictions must be seen as
unsafe for that reason. Normally the date of an alleged offence is not to
be regarded as a material averment in an indictment (see * R v Dossi * (1918)
13 Cr App R 158 ). There may however be situations where the dates given
simply do not disclose a criminal offence because, for example, the offence
in question did not exist at all on the date set out. That would have been
the case with the present indictment, had the period cited been entirely
before section 33A came into effect. That however was not the case here.
Offences of this kind have been held to be continuing offences (see * R v
Anderton and Cooper * (1980) 72 Cr App R 232 ). It does not have to be
established by the Crown in such a situation that a continuing offence of
that kind continued throughout the whole of the period. It would suffice if
the Crown was able to prove the commission of the offence in the period
from 1st May 2004 onwards.

8. It remains, of course, the fact that the wording of the particulars of
offence here produced an irregularity, as we have indicated. But, in our
judgment, this did not render the indictment itself a nullity. Guidance on
that aspect is to be found in the decision of the House of Lords in the
case of * R v Ayres * [1984] AC 447 . There, Lord Bridge of Harwich, giving
the only substantive judgment, said this at page 460H to 461B:

“If the statement and the particulars of the offence in an indictment
disclose no criminal offence whatever or charge some offence which has been
abolished, in which case the indictment could fairly be described as a
nullity, it is obvious that a conviction under that indictment cannot
stand. But if the statement and particulars of offence can be seen fairly
to relate to and to be intended to charge a known and subsisting criminal
offence but plead in terms which are inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise
imperfect, then the question whether a conviction on that indictment can
properly be affirmed under the proviso must depend on whether, in all the
circumstances, it can be said with confidence that the particular error in the pleading cannot in any way have prejudiced or embarrassed the defendant.”

That reference in the passage quoted to “prejudiced or embarrassed the
defendant” reflects the same approach as is found in the wording of Rule 6
of the 1971 Rules. But in any event, the words were being used by Lord
Bridge in that passage as a way of applying the proviso, which at that time
existed, in the wording of section 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968.
That proviso has since gone but has been replaced by the test which this
Court is now required to apply by virtue of section 2(1), as it is now
worded, namely whether this Court thinks the conviction is unsafe. That
will not always produce the same result as the earlier test under the
original proviso (see the decision in * R v Graham * [1997] 1 Cr App R 302
). Nonetheless, it seems to us that the approach of the House of Lords in
* Ayres * , as expressed by Lord Bridge is, on the facts of the present
case, relevant to the issue of the safety of these convictions. We shall
turn to those in a moment.

9. Before we do so, it is necessary to summarise the evidence at trial,
particularly the evidence of the involvement of the appellants. Both of
them were found by a police officer in the kitchen of the premises at 2.30
am of the morning immediately following the evening raid by the police on
29th September 2005. There was evidence that they said to a police officer
that they were cleaners.

10. So far as Mr Pritchett is concerned, the Crown also relied at trial on
evidence that he took possession of the copy of the search warrant intended
and marked for the owner/ occupier of the premises and was the director and
main share holder of the company CP Limited, which was the freehold owner.
He had the keys to a car parked outside, a Mercedes. He did not declare
employment as a cleaner to the Revenue and he had a previous conviction, in
1990, for living on immoral earnings which was said to show propensity. All
of those factors could be said to concern the situation at or around the
time of the police raid in September 2005. In addition, the Crown relied on
evidence that he had made a witness statement on 27th March 2004, in which
he describe himself as “just filling in as the manager” at Cuddles Massage
Parlour. There was a second witness statement by him to like effect, dated
22nd April 2004.

In the case of Langston, he did not declare employment as a cleaner to the
Revenue. His home was owned by CP Limited, but most strikingly, there was a
sign on the notice board in the premises, at the time of the police raid,
with a telephone number saying to call “Nathan” if there were any problems.
Nathan was Mr Langston’s first name. He sought to explain this in interview
on the basis that the notice was there in case there were any maintenance
problems. Of some significance, it is to be observed that neither appellant
gave evidence at trial.

With that summary of the evidence, we can turn to the issue of the safety
of the convictions. In the case of the appellant, Pritchett, this is bound
up with the second ground of appeal, which asserts a misdirection by the
judge in his summing-up. The grounds of appeal in Langston’s case do not
rely on such a ground for reasons to which we will come. The alleged
misdirection arises because the judge never sought to get the jury to focus
on the period from 1st May 2004 onwards. He spelt out the two issues for
the jury in the following terms:

“The prosecution, first of all, have to prove that the premises concerned
were acting as a brothel, and, secondly, if they are going to succeed
against the defendant, they have to prove the other aspect, that they
managed or assisted in the management of the brothel.”

In so far as the judge dealt with what period of time was relevant for
these issues he said, at page 5H onwards:

“Dates are never a really important or rarely a really important element of
a criminal charge, because it doesn’t, in one way, really matter when it
was. The question is: did it happen? Are you sure that it happened? The
prosecution have selected a fairly wide bracket, which looks as if it goes
about the time of the incorporation of the company CP Limited, until the
30th September, and of course 30th September was the day after the police

The prosecution don’t have to prove that each of these defendants was
involved on every single hour of every single day between those dates. They
have to prove to your satisfaction, so that you are sure, that the
defendant whose case you are considering was involved in the management of
or assisting in the management of the brothel at some stage during that
very wide period. And of course, as has already been pointed out, the bulk
of the evidence in the case comes from one day—comes from 29th September.
It goes beyond that, we know, from notices and things that were found on
the premises. But don’t worry about the dates: concentrate on whether the
prosecution have proved the two important elements in the case.”

The omission of any reference to the period “from 1st May 2004 onwards”, so
far as whether these premises were a brothel, is not said to be of
significance. There was clear and vivid evidence that they were being so
used on 29th September 2005, at the time of the police raid, and in
contrast there was only limited evidence that they were being so used
before 1st May 2004.

But on the issue of the involvement of the appellants in the management of
premises and particularly the appellant, Pritchett, the omission is said to
be significant. Mr Stirling submits that the judge failed to direct the
jury that they had to be satisfied that the offence was committed on or
after 1st May 2004, and that this appellant was involved in the management
at that time. The conviction, it is said, cannot be seen as safe. It is
contended that there was here a clear misdirection. So far as the safety of
the conviction is concerned, it is argued on behalf of Mr Pritchett that,
as at 29th September 2005, the evidence against him was merely his arrival
at the premises with Mr Langston, there describing themselves as cleaners
and Mr Pritchett accepting the warrant. Such other evidence as there was
consisted simply of Mr Pritchett’s connection with others involved and the
two witness statements which he had given to the police, in March and April
2004, referring to himself in some terms as “manager”. Mr Stirling draws
attention to the fact that Crown described those witness statements as
“very compelling evidence” if accurate. It is submitted there could be no
doubt that such evidence would have been very significant for the jury. As
for the safety of the conviction of the appellant, Pritchett, as now to be
judged by this Court, Mr Stirling
submits that none of the evidence shows his involvement in 2005 in the
management. There is, it is said, no evidence to that effect and this Court
cannot be sure that a reasonable jury would have convicted, if they had
been properly directed on the evidence as it stood.

For the Crown, Mr Butterfield accepts that there was a misdirection and
also that some of the evidence about Mr Pritchett and his involvement in
the management related to such involvement before 1st May 2004. But he
submits that the conviction is nonetheless safe. The evidence from before
that date was, it is said, still relevant and admissible, given that there
was no evidence to suggest that the position had changed after that date
and, in addition, there was also evidence specifically relating to the
period after the statutory provision came into effect on that date. Mr
Butterfield refers, in that connection, to Mr Pritchett’s presence at the
premises in the small hours of the morning on 29th September, to his taking
and retaining the search warrant and to the absence of any rebuttal
evidence from him. It is submitted on behalf of the Crown that it is
inconceivable that the jury would not have found Mr Pritchett guilty in
respect of his management of the brothel after 1st May 2004.

We can deal, first and briefly, with the position concerning the appellant,
Langston. Very little of the evidence about his involvement in the
management of the premises related to the period before 1st May 2004.
Consequently there can be no doubt that, if the jury had been properly
directed to consider that involvement at the relevant time (namely on or
after that date), they would still have convicted. This, no doubt, is why
this line of argument does not form one of his grounds of appeal.

The position in respect of the appellant, Pritchett, is somewhat more
complicated. The evidence from which his involvement in the management at
the relevant time could be deduced does relate to the time both before and
after the date when section 33A came into effect: the mere fact that
evidence emanates from before that date does not render it irrelevant. Mr
Butterfield is right in saying that the evidence before that date has
relevance, in so far as the jury might infer this appellant’s involvement
after that date. They were not, of course, directed to consider whether
such an inference could properly be drawn.

The evidence from the period after 1st May 2004 consisted, as we have
indicated, of Mr Pritchett’s presence at the premises in the early morning
after the raid, his explanation at the time that he was a cleaner, the
absence of any tax return declaring his employment there, his role in the
company owning the freehold of the premises and his taking of the
owner/occupier’s copy of the search warrant. The fact that the car he used
was outside at the time, seems to us, to add very little, if anything, to
this, although it may be unusual for a cleaner to be driving a Mercedes.
His conviction for living on immoral earnings, in 1990, was also relevant,
though it was of some antiquity when considered 15 years later.

The jury must have been influenced by Mr Pritchett’s witness statements in
early 2004, in which he effectively described himself as “managing the
massage parlour.” This evidence was indeed described by the judge in
summing-up as “very compelling evidence”. Certainly it was, if one was
considering the period in the indictment from 1998 to September 2005,
though, as we have already said, it is not without potential significance,
even if one’s consideration is confined to the period from 1st May 2004
onwards. A jury would be entitled to draw an inference from that evidence,
that he was still a manager in 2005, unless there was some evidence to cast
doubt on that.

The question for this Court is whether we are satisfied that, if the jury
had been properly directed about how to approach all this evidence, the
only reasonable and proper verdict in the case of the appellant, Pritchett,
would have been one of guilty (see the decision in * R v Stirland * (1945)
30 Cr App R 40 and * R v Davis, Rowe & Johnson * [2001] 1 Cr App R 115 , at
132). In other words: must any reasonable jury have been sure, if properly
directed on the evidence, that Mr Pritchett was indeed involved in the
management of this brothel in the period between 1st May 2004 and 30th
September 2005?

We have concluded that any such jury would inevitably have been sure of
this appellant’s guilt. They would have been entitled to take into account
his earlier witness statements, as we have indicated, together with the
absence of any evidence to suggest that the position had changed since
then. When that is added to the appellant’s presence on the premises,
shortly after the police raid, along with the appellant, Langston, his
ownership through the company CP Limited of the premises, his false
explanation for his presence there, namely that he was cleaner, and the
fact that he gave no evidence at trial to rebut the Crown’s case, this
Court is satisfied that any reasonable jury would have been bound to
convict. That being so, these appeals against conviction are dismissed.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.


[1] Cathy Fox Blog 2015 May 8 [constantly updated] Index Timeline of Newspaper Articles on Cathy Fox Blog

[2] Cathy Fox Blog 2015 May 8 [constantly updated] An Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog

[3] Cathy Fox Blog to be published Sex Slavery – Slave Girl Return to Hell by Sarah Forsyth and Tim Tate

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused


[C] One in Four

[D] Havoca

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog

[G] Jim Hopper Mindfulness

[H] Jim Hopper Meditation

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free


About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in cathy fox blog, Controlling Prostitution, Court, Sex trafficking, West Midlands and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Carl Pritchett, Nathan Langston 2007 Feb 14 Court of Appeal

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court & Court of Appeal, EWCA Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathyfox blog

  2. Pingback: Carl Pritchett, Nathan Langston 2007 Feb 14 Court of Appeal | meggiemom342

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