R v Richards

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
Judgment Date06 July 1973
Judgment citation (vLex)[1973] EWCA Crim J0706-3
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Docket NumberNo. 2499/A/73
Date06 July 1973

[1973] EWCA Crim J0706-3



Royal Courts of Justice


Lord Justice James

Mr. Justice Kilner Brown


Mr. Justice Boreham

No. 2499/A/73

Isabelle Christina Richards

MR. H.W. APLIN appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

MR. I.B. PURVIS appeared on behalf of the Crown.


This is an appeal by Isabelle Christina Richards by leave of the single Judge against a conviction that she sustained on the 8th May, 1973 at the Bournemouth Crown Court, the conviction being for an offence of wounding her husband with intent under Section 18 of the Act.


Before proceeding further with the matter may we be permitted to say how much we are indebted to both counsel for their arguments, and in particular to Mr. Purvis, who faced up to the questions from the Court which he must on some occasions have thought were not always helpful. We are grateful to him for his research on the argument that he has put over in placing before the Court what he considers to be the basis upon which this conviction should stand, being right.


What happened at the trial was that the Appellant was charged with two co-accused, one Bryant and one Squires, both male. There were two counts in the indictment. The first count charged the offence under Section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act, the second charge based on the same facts being the alternative charge under Section 20 not involving the specific intent.


In respect of both the Appellant and the co-accused Bryant as soon as the accused were put in charge of the Jury they changed their plea of not guilty to the second count and tendered a plea of guilty. No, said the prosecution, that will not do; we will go on and try you on that first charge in the indictment. Thus it came about at the end of the trial that the Appellant was convicted of the offence under Count 1; Bryant was acquitted on Count 1 and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment on Count 2 suspended for two years; Squires was convicted on Count 2 and acquitted on Count 1. He received a fine of £50 with three months' imprisonment in default of payment. In respect of the Appellant she was sentenced to six months' imprisonment to take immediate effect.


The Appellant appeals not only against conviction but also against sentence.


The facts of the matter can be stated quite shortly.


On the evening of the 25th February of this year the Appellant's husband Mr. Richards left his home in Weymouth in order to go to work. Shortly afterwards in a lane not far away he was attacked by two men, who were wearing black balaclavas over their heads. He was struck on the back of his head. He tried to escape but was grabbed by the coat sleeves. Eventually he struggled free from his assailants.


The medical evidence was that he sustained a laceration on the top of his scalp which required two stitches. There was no need for him to be detained in hospital; it was not a serious injury in fact.


On the 26th February the Appellant was arrested and at the Police Station she explained that, according to her, her marriage had been deteriorating, she had become very depressed and started drinking. She was asked if it was at her suggestion that her co-accused Bryant (known as Alan) and Squires (known as Paul) attacked her husband, and to that she replied she had made the suggestion but in fact she did not want them to hurt him. "All I wanted" she said "was for us to get together again. I thought if he was hurt, he would turn to me for affection." But in her statement she admitted in these words "I told them that I wanted tham to beat him up bad enough to put him in hospital for a month." She agreed that she had told them that she would give them £5 if they would beat up her husband. She also admitted that she had suggested the appropriate time that her husband might be attacked, namely, when he went out to work, and that she would give a signal by putting on the kitchen light in the house where they lived so that those lying in wait would know when he was setting off for work. As it turned out, there was a power cut at the time so she could not put the light on; she had to hold a candle up to the window, but she played her part as she had promised.


None of the accused gave evidence at the trial and they were content to rest upon the basis that the jury might find them guilty of the second less serious offence, thus in the upshot the two persons who committed the acts which were the foundation of the offence alleged in Count 2 were guilty of an offence under Section 20; the Appellant, who committed no physical act upon the victim herself at all, was convicted of the more serious offence.


Mr. Aplin's submissions are brief. He says that looking at the facts of this case the Appellant is in the position of one who aided and abettted, or counselled and procured, to use the old language, the other two to commit the offence, and that she cannot be guilty of a graver crime than the crime of which the two co-accused were guilty. There was only one offence that was committed, committed by the co-accused, an offence under Section 20, and therefore there is no offence under Section 18 of the Act of which his client can be found guilty properly on the facts of this case.


Mr. Purvis has referred us to a number of authorities in support of his submissions and argument that it is possible and it should be on the facts of this case that a person who did no physical act herself by way of assault should nevertheless be guilty of the graver crime of wounding with intent if it is established that she had that specific intent, although persons who were acting at her counselling and command did not have the specific intent that she had and therefore are not themselves guilty of the graver offence.


In support of this argument Mr. Purvis invites our attention first to the case of Director of Public Prosecutions v. Merriman, reported in 1972 Volume 3 of the Weekly Law Reports at page 545, and in particular to a passage in the speech of Lord Diplock which appears at page 564 Just below letter H after Lord Diplock had referred to the authorities of Hale and Hawkins, and he says: "I conclude, therefore, that whenever two or more defendants are charged in the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • R v Howe; R v Bannister; R v Burke; R v Clarkson
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 19 February 1987
    ...[1977] A.C. 755. 7 In answering the second question, the Court of Appeal invited us to reconsider the decision of the Court of Appeal in Reg. v. Richards [1974] Q.B. 776, by which it considered itself bound. 8 In the arguments presented before your Lordships many other reported authorities ......
  • R v Howe; R v Bannister; R v Burke; R v Clarkson
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 27 January 1986
    ...then Clarkson could be found guilty at the worst only of manslaughter. 46The learned Judge based himself on a decision of this Court in Richards (1974) 58 Cr. App. R. 60. The facts in that case were that Mrs. Richards paid two men to inflict injuries on her husband which she intended should......
  • Dick et Al v R
    • Guyana
    • Court of Appeal (Guyana)
    • 8 May 1985
    ...desired. For the reasons that I have given in this judgment, I therefore differ from the opposing view expressed in R. v. Richards [1973] 3 All E.R. 1088: that where an accessory before the fact has prevailed on another to commit a criminal act, he cannot properly be convicted, as an access......
  • R v Craig Brian Bryce
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 18 May 2004
    ...of secondary parties are now otiose: see Howe [1987] AC 147 in which the House of Lords disapproved of the decision in Richards [1974] QB 776 which had appeared to perpetuate the distinctions for certain purposes. So far as the charging of secondary parties is concerned, it is frequently ad......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 books & journal articles
  • Lesser Included Offences, Alternative Offences and Accessorial Liability
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage Journal of Criminal Law, The No. 80-6, December 2016
    • 1 December 2016
    ...R v Creamer [1966] 1 QB 72.87. See G. Williams, Textbook of Criminal Law (Stevens & Sons: London, 1983) at 373 discussing R v Richards [1974] QB 776. See also D. Lanham, ‘Accomplices, Principals and Causation’ [1980] 12(4) Melbourne University Law Review 88. The semi-innocent agency doctrin......
  • Recent Judicial Decisions
    • United Kingdom
    • Sage Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles No. 60-4, October 1987
    • 1 October 1987
    ...was as one who incites or procures.His position depends in part on the crime of Burke. The existing lawwas to be found in R. v. Richards[1974]Q.B. 776 and concerns thesecond question put to the House of Lords. This case, indicating thatthe secondary party could not be convicted of a more se......
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Understanding Criminal Law (CAP) 2018 Title Chapter 30 Liability For the Acts of Others: Complicity
    • Invalid date
    ...non-homicide crimes or circumstances, we express no view on whether or how these principles apply outside the homicide context").[142] . [1974] Q.B. 776.[143] . Compare Williams, Note 26, supra, at 322-23, and J.C. Smith & Brian Hogan, Criminal Law 132-36 (5th ed. 1983) (criticizing the dec......
  • § 30.06 Liability of the Secondary Party in Relation to the Primary Party
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Understanding Criminal Law (CAP) 2022 Title Chapter 30 Liability for the Acts of Others: Complicity
    • Invalid date
    ...non-homicide crimes or circumstances, we express no view on whether or how these principles apply outside the homicide context").[142] [1974] Q.B. 776.[143] Compare Williams, Note 26, supra, at 322-23, and J.C. Smith & Brian Hogan, Criminal Law 132-36 (5th ed. 1983) (criticizing the decisio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT