Regina v Sardar (Anis Abid) – WLR Daily

Posted November 8th, 2016 in anonymity, appeals, conspiracy, disclosure, evidence, explosives, law reports, murder, witnesses by sally

Regina v Sardar (Anis Abid) [2016] EWCA Crim 1616

‘The defendant was charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and, as an alternative count, conspiracy to cause an explosion. It was the Crown’s case that the defendant had been directly involved in the construction and/or deployment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one of which had caused the death of an American soldier near Baghdad in September 2007. The defendant’s case was that he had been acting in lawful and proportionate defence of Sunni communities who were under threat from Shia militia; his fingerprints had been found on two of the bombs, although not the one which had resulted in the fatal explosion. The defendant was convicted of murder and conspiracy to murder; no verdict was sought on the alternative count of conspiracy to cause an explosion. He appealed against conviction on the ground, inter alia, of fresh evidence from two anonymous witnesses (C and D) who were now available to give evidence as to the frequency and quality of attacks by the Shia militia on the Sunni communities and the need for the Sunnis to act in self-defence. C and D were prepared to disclose their identities to the court and, within a strict “confidentiality ring”, to counsel for the Crown, the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer and two senior investigating officers with undertakings that there should be no further disclosure to anyone. However, the Crown was not prepared to give such undertakings. The defendant applied for an order under section 87(3) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (which required the defendant to inform the court and the prosecutor of the identity of the witness) for anonymity measures to be put in place. It was submitted that although the “prosecutor” had to be informed, that did not necessarily envisage disclosure beyond the person of the prosecutor.’

WLR Daily, 18th October 2016