R v Watton

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date18 December 1978
Judgment citation (vLex)[1978] EWCA Crim J1218-9
Date18 December 1978
Docket NumberNo. 5590/A/78

[1978] EWCA Crim J1218-9



Royal Courts of Justice


Lord Justice Geoffrey Lane

Mr. Justice Ackner


Mr. Justice Watkins

No. 5590/A/78

Joseph Watton

MR. L. BLOM-COOPER, Q.C. and MR. J. PHILLIPS appeared on behalf of the Applicant.


This is an appeal against a decision by Mr. Justice Gibson in Chambers on 30th November last. He, on an application under section 31, granted leave to appeal against sentence to this applicant, Joseph Watton, but he declined to accede to an application that Watton should be admitted to bail pending the hearing of the appeal against sentence.


The original conviction was on 24th November of this year at Warley Crown Court before Judge Stuart White when, upon this man pleading guilty to three counts of receiving metal knowing it to be stolen, that is to say handling stolen metal, he was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment concurrent on each count.


There is no meed to go into the facts of the case except to say that this man was a scrap metal merchant in a large way of business, and the metal which he admitted handling came fram a company which was engaged in dismantling gas meters belonging to the Gas Board and taking out the constituent parts, in order to facilitate the reprocessing of the used metal contained in them.


The learned single Judge ordered that the appeal should be expedited and it seems that it is likely to be heard early next year.


Mr. Blom-Cooper who has argued this case before us submits that he is entitled to succeed on either one of two grounds. The first ground is this: that where a term of imprisonment is imposed, but the defendant has been granted leave to appeal against his sentence, as here, then the general principles applying to pre-trial bail apply equally to him, even though it is a post-trial situation in which he is placed. The second ground is that in any event there are exceptional circumstances here which would justify the granting of bail, even if his first submission fails to succeed.


We will deal with the second situation first. Obviously it is desirable that we should say as little as possible about the circumstances of the offence, and we do, but what the appellant puts forward as exceptional circumstances are first, that he himself is not fit; secondly, that his wife suffers from angina and is under medication constantly; thirdly, that he has the misfortune to have a daughter who is mentally unstable and looks to the appellant, her father, for a great deal of her companionship and support. Next it is said that he was not expecting to go to prison and therefore had not taken the necessary steps to put his affairs in order before he went to prison. Then it is said that the Christmas holidays are coning up and finally, he is of good character to all intents and purposes. Those are the matters which have been urged upon us as exceptional circumstances. We do not think they are.


The other ground upon which Mr. Blom-Cooper relies necessitates rather more detailed treatment. Mr. Blom-Cooper has referred us to a number of old authorities on the subject of bail. They are nearly all contrary to his contention. But he is anxious to point out that each one of then really only applies to applicants rather than appellants. Of course tha situation of the consideration of a case by the single Judge is only of a comparatively recent nature. Before the new system, and before the huge volume of appeals which descended upon the system recently, the question of leave to appeal was nearly always determined by the Court which was to hear the appeal immediately afterwards. It is only recently that a gap, and sometimes a considerable gap, is to be found between the granting of leave in a proper case by the single Judge under section 31 of the Criminal Appeal Act and the actual hearing of the appeal.


Mr. Blom-Cooper took us through the statutory history of the powers to grant bail and the powers indeed to grant leave to appeal. We feel there is no need to relate those matters in this judgment. The case which perhaps is the high water mark of his argument – indeed I think he so described it – is MacDonald 21 Cr. App. R. 26. It would be an understatement to say that it is a very brief report, and I will read it in full:


"Application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence.


"Applicant was convicted at the...

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    • Court of Appeal
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    ...JLR 123, considered. (7) R. v. Home Secy., ex p. Turkoglu, [1998] 1 Q.B. 398; [1987] 2 All E.R. 823, considered. (8) R. v. Watton (1978), 68 Cr. App. R. 293, followed. (9) Wemhoff v. Germany, June 27th, 1968, European Ct. of Human Rights, Series A, No. 7; (1968), 1 E.H.R.R. 55, considered. ......
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    ...(1968), 53 Cr. App. R. 162, considered. (3) -R. v. Neal, The Times, January 29th, 1986, unreported, considered. (4) -R. v. WattonUNK(1978), 68 Cr. App. R. 293; [1979] Crim. L.R. 246, applied. (5) -Seales v. R., Court of Appeal, April 9th, 1998, unreported, considered. Criminal Procedure-bai......
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  • Thomas v Crown Prosecution Service
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    • 2 December 2015
    ...Court of Appeal under the Criminal Appeals Act 1968. To my mind, he does not find any assistance here, not least because decisions such as Watton 1979 68 Crim App R 293, on which he relies, turn on the practice of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal. Moreover his submissions elide ......
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