Robin Nigel Everett 30 Jun 2003 Court of Appeal (Church)

The several appeals posted today are all relevant to the Christian Church. See a list of all of them here at the end of the day – Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

Robin Nigel Everett was the vicar of a church in Leicester. Offences were in 1980-85. Indecent assault. Victim  aged 12

Robin Nigel Everett

Redaction

Some court reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance –  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims details, there may also be “assault redaction” across most of the spectrum of abuse. The assaults are left in the charges, but mainly redacted when repeated with reference to the individual. I have also redacted unnecessary detail of assaults.

Redaction may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, institutions where assaults occurred, the actual charges the perpetrators faced, and dates – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

Some transcripts may have been subject to automatic reading software and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.  Common mistakes in reprinting here are that quotation marks are sometimes not correct, replaced by odd symbols.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

This appeal is redacted for personal and assault detail by cathy fox blog

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[2006] EWCA Crim 1863

No: 200504975/C2

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL


Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London, WC2

Friday, 30TH June 2003

Mr Justice Crane

Regina

v.

Robin Nigel Everett


Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of 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 M BARLOW appeared on behalf of the APPLICANT

JUDGMENT

(As Approved by the Court)

1.

MR JUSTICE CRANE: On 6th June 2003 in the Crown Court at Leicester, after a trial before His Honour Judge Hammond and a jury, the applicant was convicted by 11 to 1 on seven counts of indecent assault on a female. Counts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 related to the first of two complainants and the remaining count on which he was convicted related to the other. He appealed against sentence and that appeal was dealt with ultimately by the Full Court on 30th October 2003, the Court being differently constituted. The appeal against the sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment was dismissed. He renewed his application for leave to appeal against conviction. That was very much out of time but the Single Judge granted the necessary extension of time but refused leave. We now consider, as a Full Court, the renewed application for leave to appeal against conviction.

2. The applicant was the vicar of a church in Leicestershire and he had an affair with the mother of the two complainants after her husband had left her. The applicant became a regular visitor to the family home. The applicant’s own relationship with his wife was in difficulties. There were occasions when the applicant was left in the house together with the two daughters.

3. The first complainant was born in October 1969. She was described for the purpose of the proceedings as A. She contended that between January 1981 and December 1984, when she was between 12 and 15 years old, he indecently assaulted her on a number of occasions by touching her [assault redacted] The offences usually took place when she was in bed but on one occasion it had occurred, according to her, in the vestry of his church.

4. The second complainant was born in July 1976. She contended that between 1984 and 1985, when she was aged 8 and 9, he indecently assaulted her [assault redacted]. She asked what he meant when he said that he should “stop being a dirty old man”. He told her he would get into trouble and she should not tell anyone. Later he made her[assault redacted]. The counts relating to her were counts 7 and 8.

5. The relationship was ended by the mother some time after the applicant returned from working abroad in 1987.

6. There was some evidence given about occasions when the two complainants told others about the offences that they alleged had occurred. It is not necessary, in circumstances we shall outline, to provide details of the history of complaints.

7. The applicant was arrested in August 2002. In interview he denied all the offences, saying they had been fabricated and were a complete fantasy. When he gave evidence he said much the same. There had been some contact between him and the two daughters after the parting, but at all times he completely denied the allegations against him.

8. The grounds of appeal all relate to the summing-up by the learned judge. There were three grounds of appeal. The first related to the direction as to similar fact evidence and mutual admissibility. The second related to the standard of proof and the third related to the good character direction. Mr Barlow tells us today that having further considered recently the learned judge’s direction on similar facts and mutual admissibility, those are submissions that he cannot and does not pursue.

9. We therefore consider the other two. Mr Barlow refers us to the case of R v CAS 99/01664 decided by this Court on the 20th December 1999. It was a case where the Court made certain observations in relation to delayed accusations of sexual conduct and the Court referred to the judgment in the case of R v Percival in 1988. At paragraph 12, the Court in CAS emphasised the need to alert the jury to the consequences of delay.

10. In this particular case, however, Mr Barlow does not make any direct complaint about the directions that the learned judge gave in relation to delay. They are to be found at pages 27 and 28 of the transcript that he has been using and he says that they are adequate. What he says, however, is that in a case where there has been delay, it is all the more important that the learned judge should follow through the concerns about delay and its consequence in the other directions that are given.

11. As to the standard of proof, what the learned judge said was this (pages 24E and F):

“The prosecution cannot ask you to return a verdict of guilty unless the prosecution bring to this state of mind —that having considered all the evidence in the case in relation to each particular count you can say: ‘We are sure that on that charge the defendant is guilty, and we have no real doubt about it.’ If you’re sure in that way, then on that charge you will convict the defendant. If, on the other hand, you’re left in a real doubt about it, then the prosecution have failed to prove the defendant’s guilt and you will acquit the defendant. When I speak of real doubt, I mean simply the sort of doubt which appeals to your common sense as a real doubt. It doesn’t need me to say your knowledge of people and common sense are important factors you’ll bring to bear in your discharge of your serious duties as jurors.”

It is to be noted that at page 28G he also said this when he was dealing with motive and possibility of false allegations:

“At the end of the day it really does come down to this: that in relation to count 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6, you must be sure that [L] was telling the truth in relation to count 7, 8 and 9, you must be sure that [A] was telling the truth.”

12. Mr Barlow’s complaint is that, having first dealt correctly with the standard of proof, the learned judge qualified it by reference to a real doubt. The advice in the Judicial Studies Board Specimen Directions is that it is not usually necessary to use the phrase “beyond reasonable doubt” except where counsel in their speeches have referred to it. However, there cannot be anything wrong, as Mr Barlow concedes, in a reference to proof beyond reasonable doubt, however desirable it may be to keep the direction simple. He contends, however, that a mention of “real” in effect lowers the standard that the jury have to be satisfied about. This Court accepts that, generally speaking, the less the basic direction on the standard of proof is qualified or explained, the better. However, we do not accept the proposition that mention of a real doubt is something that is more prejudicial to the defendant than the mention of a reasonable doubt. Indeed it is in our view highly arguable that the phrase “reasonable doubt” might be less advantageous to the defendant in a particular case than the phrase “real doubt”.

13. Looking at the directions as a whole and bearing in mind what he said later, we are satisfied that the direction as to standard of proof properly got across to the jury the necessity of being sure.

14. We turn to the question of character. What the learned judge said was this (page 27C):

“The defendant is a man aged 69, and is of good character, and you’ve heard today from three people who have spoken very highly of him and said they would have no concern with him being with children. Good character can’t by itself provide a defence to a criminal charge, but it is evidence which is taken into account in the defendant’s favour in the following ways: first, the defendant has given evidence, and as with any person of good character, it supports his credibility. This means it’s a fact which you should take into account when deciding whether you believe his evidence. And secondly, the fact that he is a person of good character may mean that he is less likely than otherwise might be the case to commit a crime, and certainly these are matters to which you should have regard in the defendant’s favour. It is for you to decide what weight you should give to them in this case.”

Then immediately he went on to deal directly with the question of delay.

15. Mr Barlow refers us to the passage in CAS at paragraph 23, where they pointed out that the good character direction may need to be expanded in order to remind the jury of the defendant’s good character and that it is relevant at all times up to the trial. At that stage the Judicial Studies Board direction was set out in its then wording. The essence of it remains the same in its present version. Where a person has a positively good character and particularly if the defendant is a person of unblemished character of mature years it may, as the Judicial Studies Board says, be pointed out to the jury with such words as the following:

“having regard to what you know about this defendant, you may think that he is entitled to ask him to give [considerable] weight to his good character in deciding whether the prosecution has satisfied you of his guilt.”

16. In essence Mr Barlow accepts the direction as far as it went was correct but he says that this was a case where it was, he would submit, essential to add the additional words.

17. We would certainly not wish to discourage the adding of those words in appropriate cases. But it is plainly a matter for the judge’s discretion. In this case the jury were squarely faced with the fact that the defendant is a man of 69. They knew perfectly well that he was a clergyman. There was reference to the very recent evidence, given that very day, of the three people who spoke highly of him. The lack of an additional sentence emphasising in his particular case good character does not appear to us to have been essential to have resulted in any significant flaw in an otherwise satisfactory summing-up.

18. Standing back, considering the summing-up as a whole and in particular the passages referred to, we cannot see that this summing-up was defective, or that the matter was not fairly and properly laid before the jury. We come to conclusion that the verdicts were here safe. The consequence is that this application for leave must be refused.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • 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.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]

Links

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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, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Church, Church abuse, Court, East Midlands, Leicestershire and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Robin Nigel Everett 30 Jun 2003 Court of Appeal (Church)

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court and Court of Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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