[O’Dowd1] Kenneth Vizzard 25 July 1975 Court of Appeal


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 slightly redacted by cathy fox blog

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

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[1975] EWCA Crim J0725-6

No. 5226/A/74


Friday, 25thJuly1975

Lord Justice James



Kenneth Vizzard

(From the Shorthand Notes of Cherer & Co., 34 Essex Street, Strand, London, WC2R 3AT. Telephone Number: 01-583 4121. Shorthand Writers to the Court.)

MR. R. CROXON appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

MR. McDONALD appeared on behalf of the Crown.


MR. JUSTICE NIELD: On the 20th November last at the Central Criminal Court this Appellant was convicted of bigamy and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

He now appeals against conviction. The learned single Judge refused an application for leave to appeal against sentence, and that is not renewed.

The facts are these. According to the Crown’s evidence, this Appellant was validly married on the 16th November, 1971 to Norma Jxxxxx, and on the 26th January, 1974, while still so married, he went through a form of marriage with MN.

The Appellant denied, as he had done throughout, that he was the man who married Norma Johnson on the 16th November, 1971, and the sole issue in effect before the jury at the trial was whether or no this was indeed the Appellant who married Norma Jxxxxx in November 1971, so that it was a question of identity.

On this aspect of the matter there was abundant evidence that it was indeed the Appellant, if it was accepted by the jury. Norma Jxxxxx herself (Norma Vizzard in her married name) said that indeed this was the man who had married her. She had lived with him before the marriage and he left her in February 1972. She picked him out on an identification parade in February 1974 without the slightest hesitation.

Her mother was called and she told the Court that her daughter and the Appellant had lived at her house from October 1971 to February 1972, and he had bought a ring for her. She herself was not present at the wedding, but identified the Appellant as the person who had lived with her daughter.

There were then a Mr. and Mrs. Robinson who had collected the Appellant and Norma from her mother’s house and taken them to the marriage ceremony where they acted as witnesses. In the case of the Robinsons however, who knew this Appellant very slightly, they were not sure that they were able to identify him again and they did not; but they gave descriptions which corresponded with the Appellant.

There was no dispute of course that the second ceremony had taken place when MN was the woman, and the Appellant was the man, although going through that ceremony in the name of O’Dowd.

The defence, as I have indicated, was a denial by the Appellant that he was the man at the first ceremony, and in his defence he said that Norma had told the police that his flat was full of stolen goods and he was arrested for receiving. She had visited him in custody and he suggested telling the probation officer that she was his fiancee in order that he could get a lighter sentence. That was what he said about it.

The grounds of the appeal against conviction have been presented with great help by Mr. Croxon on behalf of the Appellant, and the first two grounds do not appear in the grounds of appeal settled by counsel. One must of course make allowance for the fact that maybe the transcript had not then been received; but these matters are so fundamental that one would have expected them to be raised in any event, for the first is no less important a ground than that the learned Judge failed to direct the jury properly as to the burden of proof.

In that regard one must remember the very narrow issue which was before the jury, and it seems to this Court that the direction given, although departing from perhaps the normal form, was adequate in all the circumstances.

For example, at page 2 the learned Judge said: “The issue for you to decide is this, in law: are you sure, each one of you, that when that ceremony took place on that date, in accordance with that document, the man standing beside Norma, to whom she was then married, was the accused?”

At page 3B he said: “I repeat and I say for the last time that you have got to consider whether you are sure that this was the man.”

So the learned Judge used the phrase which is now required to be used in order that the burden of proof is properly discharged.

The second ground relied upon is that the learned Judge failed to point out to the jury the difference between his functions at the trial and theirs, the jury’s. He had said on page 2 “The issue for you to decide is”, and again at page 17 E he said: “I can only say that you must consider the enormous difficulties of this defence, bearing in mind all the time that the prosecution have to prove that that marriage went through. It is difficult to see how it did not on the evidence before you. If you believe Norma, the mother and the Robinsons. It is for you to say.” It is to be noticed, and I need not go into it, that when dealing with the evidence of each or almost all of the Crown’s witnesses the learned Judge interpolated the phrase “it is for you”.

Then one comes to the third ground of appeal, which is indeed covered by the notice and which can be divided into two parts. First, says Mr. Croxon, the defence was not put properly, and that is my first point on the general ground that this summing-up was unfair and the verdict unsatisfactory and unsafe.

Well, so far as the question of putting the defence is concerned, if a man’s answer is “I was not there”, it is a little difficult to know exactly how to develop it. It must be put, but a view of the whole of this summing-up appears to us to put it adequately.

The second limb of this ground is that of general unfairness, and in particular it is said that the Judge emphasised the motives for the first ceremony.

He did so, as we think, as part of the history, and indeed this Court is of the view that the tenor of the summing-up was indeed robust upon this topic. He is in effect saying “If you are satisfied that these are the facts, this man is a blackguard”, but he preceded that by giving a warning to the jury that they should not come to such a conclusion on so serious a matter easily.

Two further points arise. A letter was produced when Norma Jxxxxx was giving evidence which the defence wished to put in evidence. She was wholly unable to identify it. It was not in her writing, nor was it in her mother’s, the suggestion being it had been written on her behalf. The Judge quite properly declined to let it go in.

However that was not the end of the matter, because when the defendant came to give evidence he wished to put it in as part of his case, and the section of the Act of 1865 has been cited to us. The view of this Court is that if it had been the position that none other than Norma could have produced this document, it might have been put in, but it is clear it might have come from her or from the defendant himself. The Court therefore takes the view that the Judge was right to exclude it.

Finally there is the objection taken that a police officer when giving evidence referred at the request almost of the defence to a file of documents and in order to assist went through it obviously with care to try to find the answer to the questions which were put, the one in mind being as to the broken nose of the Appellant.

Had this of course been a notebook, then it is quite customary for counsel to be allowed to see it to see if there is anything in it, but we do not take the view in the particular circumstances of this case that the defence were entitled to a roving examination of this file, and the learned Judge was right in the course that he adopted.

In all these circumstances this Court is of the opinion that there was ample evidence here – indeed overwhelming evidence –and that there was an adequate summing-up, and that the objections to it cannot really be sustained. For those reasons the appeal must be dismissed.

For a summary of O’Dowd court cases and newspaper articles see  2017 Apr 1 Cathy Fox Blog Kenneth Kevin O’Dowd and the Ted Heath Photos [3]

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

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

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]


About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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4 Responses to [O’Dowd1] Kenneth Vizzard 25 July 1975 Court of Appeal

  1. Pingback: Kenneth Kevin O’Dowd and the Ted Heath Photos | cathy fox blog on child abuse

  2. 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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