News Criminal Defence 15th Apr 2021

Martin Heslop QC and Merry van Woodenberg’s client acquitted of murder

Martin Heslop QC and Merry van Woodenberg represented an 18 year old defendant who was acquitted of murder, following a three and a half month trial and lengthy legal argument, which persuaded the trial judge to stop the case against him.

The allegation was that the defendant, charged with four others as a joint enterprise, had been a party to an horrific shooting in which the deceased had been shot in the face with a shotgun – almost blowing off his head. The prosecution claimed this was a revenge attack for an incident which had occurred earlier in the day at a shopping centre involving the deceased.

The defendant was 16 at the time of the allegation, with significant learning difficulties such that an intermediary was directed, upon Martin and Merry’s successful application, to assist their defendant, unusually, throughout the whole trial.

Martin and Merry successfully led extensive legal arguments as to the admissibility of critical evidence – including res gestae, which required three days determination on its own – and other material.

Following their Section 8 application, and further disclosure from the prosecution, with detailed submissions in relation to hostile witnesses and the ensuing exclusion of evidence, the judge determined there was no case against the defendant, leading to the jury being directed to acquit him.

Three other defendants were convicted of murder.

Counsel were instructed by Grant Ambridge of Murrays Partnership.

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