R v Singh

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date23 February 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] EWCA Crim 660
Date23 February 2006
Docket NumberNo: 200504140/C3

[2006] EWCA Crim 660


Royal Courts of Justice


London, WC2


The Vice President

(Lord Justice Rose)

Mrs Justice Rafferty Dbe

Sir Douglas Brown

No: 200504140/C3

Alexander Sukedave Singh

MR S CSOKA appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT

MISS L BLACKWELL appeared on behalf of the CROWN


Rafferty J is unable to be here today, but she agrees with the terms of the judgment which we are about to give. McCombe J is present in relation to any ancillary matters which may arise.


On 6th July 2005 at Preston Crown Court, following a trial before His Honour Judge Robert Brown which had started in June, the appellant was convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment. He appeals against conviction by leave of the Single Judge.


The appellant had previously been jointly indicted with seven others Kaushall, Lattlay-Fottfoy, Arfan Javed, Chadwick, Mason, Mohammed Imran and Singh-Landa. The appellant did not stand trial with the others because of an incident between him and Chadwick, who was represented by the same solicitors who withdrew from representing the appellant, leaving him unrepresented. Lattlay-Fottfoy was acquitted and the others convicted. Chadwick, Mason and Singh-Landa had applications before this Court which were dealt with on 14th February. In this second trial the appellant was jointly indicted with Kasir Nadim, who had been arrested too late to be joined in the first trial. He was acquitted.


The victim of the offence, Alex Cunningham, was the owner of a shop in Burnley and lived with Sheila Murtagh and their three children in Briercliffe. At 7.00 pm on 17th June 2003 he was outside his house when three vehicles drove up. He was kidnapped by six white and two Asian men and taken to premises at an unknown location. The kidnappers contacted his family and friends using his mobile telephone and demanded money and jewellery. Sheila Murtagh received a ransom demand for half a million pounds. Michael Connelly, who had borrowed £10,000 from Mr Cunningham previously, received a call from someone using Mr Cunningham's mobile and demanding repayment. He went to Mr Cunningham's shop and handed over the money to 2 men. Two friends of the victim were given instructions to empty the safe at his shop, and at a meeting point in Stretford, they handed over £5,000 in cash and £80,000 worth of jewellery to men in a Volkswagen car. When Sheila Murtagh returned home she found that £4,000 of her money had been taken. Police were called and hostage experts became involved. Eventually Mr Cunningham was left at a telephone kiosk wearing nothing but shorts. He telephoned 999 and was found by the police. He had bruising to his head and chest, stab wounds, blisters on his legs and feet from scalding and abrasions from being dragged over a hard surface. Eight men were arrested. A crucial part of the evidence was mobile telephone analysis.


The prosecution case against the appellant was that he was the user, at the time of the kidnapping, of mobile telephones ending in numbers 718 and 548, which he used to make and receive many calls to and from his co-conspirators on and around the date of the kidnapping. The memories of the telephones of co-accused contained these mobile numbers and Chadwick's telephone also contained the appellant's land line number for his home address, 73 Astbury Street. Kaushall's mobile phone had in its memory "Alex" against the 548 number and an envelope containing the same information was recovered from Kaushall's home. The appellant admitted that two other phones, 817 and 588, were his and it was the prosecution case that 718 and 548 were his also. There were repeated calls from all four of these telephones in June, October and November 2003 and January 2004 to Chadwick. The Crown said it was open to the jury to find that it was the same person calling Chadwick in January as had called him in June at the time of the kidnapping. There were also calls between 548 and 718 and phones belonging to Kaushall, Arfan Javed and Singh-Landa on 17th and 18th June. The spider plan before the jury showed that, between 5.00pm on 17th and 7am on 18th there were approximately 200 calls between, on the one hand, 718 and 548 and, on the other, the phones of the four conspirators we have referred to and phone number 998 which admittedly belonged to another conspirator. Furthermore, call mapping suggested that the person using 718 and 548 was in the area of Mr Cunningham's home at the time he was kidnapped. The prosecution also relied on a call made from the appellant's mother's address to phone 718 during the period of the kidnapping.


The appellant's defence was alibi. He said he was at his mother's home at the time of the kidnapping and not using either 718 or 548. The owner of 718 was a plasterer known to him as Alex who was helping Chadwick, a joiner, in renovating the appellant's house at 73 Astbury Road. The defence accepted that it was proper to infer that the same person, called Alex or Al, was using 718 and 548 during the relevant period and was a party to the kidnapping.


The issue for the jury was whether they were sure the appellant was using 718 and 548 during the kidnapping and was therefore a party to it.


During the trial the judge gave a number of rulings which are challenged on appeal to this Court. He ruled that the bad character provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 applied to the appellant's trial, notwithstanding that the original trial took place prior to 15th December 2004 when those provisions came into force. The application of section 101 in relation to bad character would not be unfair because its possible application had been pointed out to the appellant's representatives at the first trial and they were now acting for him again following their earlier withdrawal. He ruled that, in order to show that the appellant was a party to the conspiracy, evidence was admissible of the entries in the memories of mobile phones belonging to other conspirators and of the envelope found in Kaushall's home. A similar entry in phone 998, which the Crown said belonged to Lattlay-Fottfoy (who had been acquitted), but which the defence admitted belonged to a co-conspirator, was also admissible to show that the appellant was party to the conspiracy. In particular, the judge ruled that number 998 was properly included in the schedule of six common numbers relied on by the Crown to show that the appellant was the person using 718 and 548 during the conspiracy. 718 and 548 were never recovered. But, in October 2003 the other telephones which the appellant admitted were his had contact with 998. In addition to the evidence already referred to, a neighbour of the appellant, Joanna Yates, had given evidence that, although she could not remember the appellant's mobile number, there were calls between March and May 2003 between her telephone and phone number 718. In interview the appellant failed to answer questions relating to 718 and 548 and, neither in interview nor in his defence statement, did he suggest that there was another Alex apart from himself. The defence submitted, at the close of the prosecution case, that there was no case to answer. The judge rejected this submission. In evidence before the jury, the appellant claimed that 718 belonged to Alex,...

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10 cases
  • West Midlands Probation Board v French
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 31 October 2008
    ...114 of the CJA 2003. Section 114, when read with section 118 of the CJA 2003 abolish the common law hearsay rules and create new rules: R v Sukdave Singh [2006] 1 WLR 1565 at paragraph 14 per Rose LJ. Statement which fall within the definition set out in sections 114 and 115 are only admiss......
  • R v Leonard (Mark)
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    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 28 April 2009
    ...2008. It appears that counsel for the defence had not been able fully to consider the judgment of Sir Christopher Rose, Vice President, in R v Singh [2006] EWCA Crim. 660, [2006] 1 WLR 1564, which had been produced by counsel for the Crown the previous day. In that case the Vice President ......
  • Twist & Others v The Queen
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 12 May 2011
    ...is undoubted is that the Act abolishes the common law of hearsay except where it is expressly preserved; this court so held in Singh [2006] EWCA Crim 660; 2 Cr App R 12 at 201. 4 It is not necessary to set out most of the provisions of the Act. The key ones for this purpose are the opening ......
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    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
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8 books & journal articles
  • Subject Index
    • United Kingdom
    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The Nbr. 15-4, October 2011
    • 1 October 2011
    .... . 316R vSimi [2008] NZCA515 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315, 316R vSinclair 2010 SCC35 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72–74R v Singh [2006] EWCA Crim 660, [2006] 1 WLR1564 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93R vSingh 2007 SCC8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .......
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    • 1 October 2014
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  • Hearsay, Confessions and Mobile Telephones
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    • Journal of Criminal Law, The Nbr. 75-6, December 2011
    • 1 December 2011
    ...of cases f‌irst tried before that date, see R vBradley [2005] EWCA Crim 20, [2005] 1 Cr App R 24 and R vSingh [2006] EWCACrim 660, [2006] 1 WLR 1564.6 S. J. Phipson and J. H. Buzzard (eds), Phipson on Evidence, 13th edn (Sweet &Maxwell: London, 1982) 16.02.The Journal of Criminal hearsay (t......
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    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The Nbr. 15-2, April 2011
    • 1 April 2011
    ...for this journal for helpful comments on previous drafts.Any remaining errors remain the responsibility of the author. 1 R v Singh [2006] EWCA Crim 660, [2006] 1 WLR 1564. doi:10.1350/ijep.2011.15.2.372 THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EVIDENCE & PROOF (2011) 15 E&P 93–116 93 CONFRONTATION: THE......
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