Hearsay and the Purpose of the Maker of the Statement

Publication Date01 April 2014
AuthorEmma Piasecki,Natalie Wortley
SubjectCourt of Appeal
Hearsay and the Purpose of the Maker of the Statement
Hearsay and the Purpose of the Maker of the Statement
R v Lam Hai Vo [2013] EWCA Crim 2292
Keywords Hearsay; Matter stated; Purpose of maker; Implied assertions
L was convicted after trial of a count of production of cannabis. There
were three co-accused—Chu, Du and Nguyen—who all pleaded guilty.
In February and March 2012 two properties in Darlington were rented
by a man who was not charged on the indictment. On 25 May 2012, both
were searched by the police. Property 1 was found to contain 288 cannabis
plants. Property 2 was found to contain 303 cannabis plants that were
being tended by Chu, who was arrested and admitted his involvement. At
approximately 1.40 am on 26 May a police off‌icer was waiting at Property
1 when L arrived in his car with the co-accused, Nguyen and Du. L had
driven from London, which was a journey of approximately six hours.
Du had keys for the property. On the arrival of the police Du and Nguyen
ran away. Both were apprehended and arrested, and both subsequently
admitted their involvement in the cultivation of cannabis. L remained in
the car and was also arrested. The car boot contained four unmarked
cardboard boxes containing plant fertiliser. There was also a large bag of
rice and a box containing food. On the back seat there was a black holdall
belonging to Nguyen containing a mobile phone, some money and small
quantities of cannabis.
It was the prosecution case that both properties were part of the same
enterprise and that L was involved in the cultivation of cannabis at both
places. It was alleged that L’s role was to transport Du and Nguyen, who
had a supervisory role, together with fertiliser and other provisions for
Chu, who was the gardener.
Telephone evidence showed that L and Nguyen had been in telephone
contact prior to 25 May. L and Nguyen had also each been in contact with
a number stored in L’s phone as ‘Tams’. L f‌irst contacted this number on
8 May and there had also been contact on 25 May. Cell site evidence
showed that L had been in Blackheath, London, on 25 May, while Nguyen
and Du were further south. The three men then met and travelled to
Darlington in the same car.
In interview, L indicated that he recognised Nguyen, but did not know
either Nguyen or Du very well. His case was that he was paid £100 to drive
them to Darlington in order ‘to tak[e] food for a takeaway’.
The evidence against L included: photographs from a memory stick
belonging to Du which suggested L and Nguyen were known to one
another; the fact that in 2006 L had pleaded guilty to being concerned (as
the gardener) in the cultivation of 347 cannabis plants in a house in
Sheff‌ield; and a text message referring to L which was sent by Nguyen to
an unknown person. The text message was written in Vietnamese and as
translated said: ‘Want to meet you this evening. I intend to ask Uncle Lam
to take me as last time’. It was accepted that ‘Uncle Lam’ was a reference
to L. The judge concluded that the text was not hearsay and, being
relevant, was, therefore, admissible.

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