‘Temporality’: Clarifying the Extent to Which Self-Defence, Defence of Property and Prevention of Crime Operate : R v Williams [2020] EWCA Crim 193

Date01 April 2020
AuthorMark Thomas
Published date01 April 2020
Subject MatterCase Notes
CLJ916927 176..180 Case Note
The Journal of Criminal Law
2020, Vol. 84(2) 176–180
‘Temporality’: Clarifying the
ª The Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
Extent to Which Self-Defence,
DOI: 10.1177/0022018320916927
Defence of Property and
Prevention of Crime Operate
R v Williams [2020] EWCA Crim 193
Self-defence, prevention of crime, protection of property, temporality
Section 76(2) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (CJIA) 2009 recognises a bundle of common
law defences available to an individual who uses force in the defence of themselves, or another, in
protection of property and in the prevention of a crime.
Williams was largely an appeal against sentence; those appeals were in respect of Williams and three
co-appellants. The case also concerned, however, a renewed application by Williams for leave to appeal
against his conviction for murder. This case note will focus on the request for leave to appeal against the
conviction and will not deal with the matters of sentencing.
Demario Williams (W) attended a 16th birthday party alongside his co-appellants and a larger group
of youths. The victim, Lewis Blackman (L), and his friends crashed the party, attacking W and his
friends in the process. Having forced their way into the flat where the party was taking place, L took hold
of W and stabbed him in the forearm with a knife, causing a wound. According to W, L had also stolen
his silver chain from around his neck, while another youth stole his mobile phone.
L and his fellow gatecrashers fled the scene and were chased a minute or so later, by W, his co-
appellants and a larger group of youths from the party. The chase eventually led to a stand-off between
W and his comrades on one side and L, who had fallen behind his friends and had turned to face the
oncoming gang, on the other. Realising that he was significantly outnumbered, L turned away and ran.
W, who was noted by the court to be a fast runner, caught up with L and fatally stabbed him in the back,
severing the aorta. L was then stabbed multiple times by the fellow appellants and again by W and died
as a result of his injuries.
W and his co-accused were charged with murder on account that they possessed the necessary
intention, at the very least, to cause really serious bodily harm. On 31 October 2018, two of W’s
co-appellants (Glasgow and Nkunku-Linongi) were convicted of murder, while the third co-accused
(Edusei) was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter. At the first trial, the jury were unable to
reach a verdict against W. W was subsequently retried by the same judge and a different jury and on 21
January 2019, he was convicted of murder.
At both his initial trial and at the retrial, W relied upon the defences of loss of self-control and self-
defence and also claimed there was a break in the chain of causation and that he lacked the necessary
mens rea for murder. In both trials, the trial judge (HHJ Leonard QC) left the defences to the jury,
with the exception of self-defence. According to the learned judge, self-defence, in all of its iterations
(self-defence, defence of property and prevention of crime), could not be left to the jury for the following

Case Note
In relation to self-defence, the victim was stabbed in the back while running away from W. No jury
properly directed could conclude that Williams was acting in defence of himself or another; he was
acting out of revenge and/or retaliation (at [9]).
In relation to defence of property, the use of force in defence of such could not be extended to include
recovery of that property by force. The learned judge considered that no jury properly directed could
conclude that...

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