Mansfield Chambers welcomes today’s Supreme Court decision on joint enterprise

Supreme Court corrects historic error of law

The decision of the Supreme Court today in the case of R v Jogee; Ruddock v The Queen (Jamaica) [2016] UKSC 8 puts right the incorrect decision in Chan Wing-Siu [1985] AC 168 which had allowed secondary parties to be convicted of offences based on mere foresight of an offence by a co-accused.  This will no longer apply, and secondary liability will apply on a normal basis.  Foresight of an offence amounts now to only evidence, not to conclusive proof of criminal liability: secondary parties must intend to assist.

But miscarriages of justice may not be put right

A troubling part of the judgment though is that this correction of the law does not automatically render existing convictions invalid.  Many people will remain in prison unless the Court of Appeal finds that there has been a serious injustice in their case.