A LAW which allowed people to be convicted of murder even if they did not strike the fatal blow has been wrongly interpreted by judges for 30 YEARS, the Supreme Court ruled today, The Sun reports. Joint enterprise law has been used to convict defendants if they “could” have foreseen that someone “might” intent to seriously harm or kill another person.
But today judges ruled it was wrong to treat “foresight” as a sufficient test. The landmark ruling could pave the way for hundreds of convicted killers to appeal, including David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted under joint enterprise in 2012 for the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.
A panel of five Supreme Court justices said it was not right that someone should be guilty merely because they foresaw that a co-accused might commit a crime. Jurors should view “foresight” only as evidence to be taken into account, not as proof. The judges analysed the issue of joint enterprise at a hearing in London in October when considering an appeal by a man who was convicted of murder after egging on a friend to stab a former policeman.
Ameen Jogee and Mohammed Hirsi, both in their 20s, were given life sentences at Nottingham Crown Court in March 2012 after being convicted of Paul Fyfe’s murder. Jurors heard that Hirsi stabbed Mr Fyfe at a house in Leicester in June 2011 while being egged on by Jogee. A judge imposed a minimum 22-year term on Hirsi, who lived in Leicester, and a minimum of 20 years on Jogee, who was of no fixed address.
Jogee’s minimum term was cut to 18 years by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court has now allowed Jogee’s appeal against conviction but he will stay in prison while lawyers decide whether he should be retried. Speaking before the ruling, Mr Fyfe’s widow said if Jogee’s appeal was upheld it could mean killers will “literally be getting away with murder”.
Tracey Fyfe said she regarded Jogee as culpable for her husband’s death because he knew what Hirsi was doing and was egging him on. She said: “I think it is a very important law and it think it would be quite devastating for the victims’ families like us, which would mean that criminals like Ameen Jogee would literally be getting away with murder.”
High-profile joint enterprise cases:
– David Norris and Gary Dobson were convicted under joint enterprise in 2012 for the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death by a gang in a racially motivated murder in Eltham, south-east London, when he was 18.
Three teenagers, Adam Swellings, Stephen Sorton and Jordan Cunliffe, were jailed for life in January 2008 for the murder of Garry Newlove, who was attacked in August 2007 after he confronted a group outside his house in Warrington, Cheshire. Cunliffe’s mother Janet claims that although he was at the scene he did not take part in the murder, and she has campaigned against joint enterprise laws.
– Football agent Andrew Taylor and sports event manager Timmy Donovan were jailed for seven years and six months and six years and 10 months respectively for beating to death off-duty policeman Pc Neil Doyle on his Christmas work night out in Liverpool in 2014. Neither defendant admitted throwing the fatal punch which ruptured his vertebral artery.
– Samantha Joseph was jailed for 10 years for the killing of Shakilus Townsend after acting as a “honey trap” to lure the 16-year-old to his death when she was 15 in 2008. She led Shakilus to a quiet cul-de-sac in Thornton Heath, south London, where he was beaten with baseball bats and stabbed six times by her older boyfriend Danny McLean.
They were both convicted of murder.