Whether evidence given in a Newton hearing by one defendant was admissible in a trial against a co-defendant where the trial and the Newton hearing were heard at the same time in the Youth Court.
There were two main questions which fell to be answered by the Divisional Court:
Was the evidence of MGS in the Newton hearing admissible against KK in his trial? If it was not admissible, was KK's conviction safe?
How should the Youth Court proceed in similar circumstances in the future?
The evidence of MGS was inadmissible in the trial of KK. Per Lord Thomas CJ: "He [MGS] was therefore not a witness in the trial of KK and the evidence he gave [...] should not have been admitted or taken into account in any way by the judge in determining the guilt of KK".
Following R v Patrick Smith (1988) 10 Cr App R (S) 271, in these circumstances in the Crown Court the guilt or innocence of KK would have been determined by a jury with a separate Newton hearing then following in respect of MGS, albeit with the same trial judge.
In the Youth Court, it will generally be fair to follow the process identified in Smith. However, there may be some very rare cases when that process is not appropriate. KK's was one such case.
The appeal was allowed, KK's conviction was quashed and a retrial was ordered to take place before a different judge.
1 September 2016