R v Gnango

First Senior Treasury Counsel Brian Altman QC led for the prosecution in the Supreme Court appeal against the judgment of a five judge Court of Appeal in R v Gnango, which quashed the offender’s conviction for murder on unique issues of joint enterprise and transferred malice. The offender had been party to a gunfight on a South London estate in which he and another shot a number of rounds at each other. A shot from Gnango’s adversary struck and killed a Polish care worker who was walking home from work. There was no admissible evidence identifying the offender’s opponent. Thus Gnango was tried alone for the murder, also the attempted murder of his adversary and associated firearms offences, all of which he was convicted. The case was tried by Cooke J in 2008. On appeal by the offender that the prosecution was illegitimately seeking to extend the boundaries of joint enterprise liability, in July 2010 the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction for murder (see [2010] EWCA Crim 1691; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 1414; [2011] 1 All E.R. 153; [2010] 2 Cr. App. R. 31; [2011] Crim. L.R. 151). However, on appeal by the prosecution, in December 2011, the Supreme Court, consisting of seven justices, overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment by a majority of 6-1 and restored the offender’s conviction for murder.

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