Absconders and the right to appeal
Absconders and the right to appeal

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Absconders and the right to appeal
  • Trial in absence
  • Absconders and the right to appeal
  • Procedure for appeal submitted for an absconder
  • Absconder who wishes to appeal a confiscation order

Trial in absence

The issue for the court in R v Okedare was whether it was prepared to entertain applications for leave from those whose whereabouts were unknown. These particular cases had been referred by the Registrar because a conflict of authority had developed between the approach adopted in different cases, and guidance was needed.

In R v Jones, the Court of Appeal ruled that the defendant's Crown Court trial had not been unfair and, by his conduct, he had waived his right to be present and represented at his trial. However, the Court of Appeal certified that a question of general public importance was involved in its decision, namely whether the Crown Court could conduct a trial in the absence of the defendant, from its commencement. The grounds of appeal to the House of Lords were that to begin a trial in the defendant's absence was inconsistent with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), or was contrary to principle, or was likely, in practice, to produce injustice.

The House of Lords held that where a defendant of full age and sound mind, with full knowledge of a forthcoming trial, voluntarily absented himself, there was no reason in principle why his decision to breach his obligation to appear and not to exercise his right to appear should have the automatic effect of suspending the criminal proceedings against him until he chose to surrender himself or was apprehended. If