Megan Edwards Successful in Application for Dismissal of Charges. 

Megan Edwards, who recently joined chambers as a tenant following the successful completion of her pupillage in October, successfully applied and argued for dismissal of all charges against her client. The Defendant had been charged with Possession with Intent to Supply a Controlled Drug of Class B (Cannabis), and Possession of Criminal Property (Cash). The Crown’s case was based solely upon the client’s passport, residence permit and driving licence being located in the same property in which a number of bags of cannabis were discovered. 

Megan Edwards

“Possession” 

In proving possession with intent to supply, the Prosecution must first prove possession, which has both a mental and physical element. 

Ms Edwards, who had represented the client from first appearance in the Magistrates’ Court, advanced the argument through both written and oral submissions that the Prosecution case against her client was purely circumstantial. The Prosecution could not prove possession of either the drugs or criminal property, and there was insufficient evidence for a jury properly to convict. Other than the documents found within the property, there was nothing linking the client to both the property itself or the drugs recovered therein. 

The Test 

The test is similar to that of a half-time submission of no case to answer, namely; if it appears to the Court that the evidence against the Defendant is not sufficient for a jury to convict, the charges must be dismissed. 

The criteria to be applied are those in the fundamental authority of R v Galbraith

Where there is no evidence that the offence alleged has been committed by the Defendant then there is no difficulty – the case must be stopped. 

The matter is more complex however where there is some evidence, but that evidence is tenuous because of inherent weakness or vagueness. If the Court however, comes to the conclusion that a jury could not properly convict taking the evidence at its highest, then the case must also be stopped.” 

Reasoning

The Court agreed with Ms Edwards’ submissions, with both charges subsequently dismissed and the Defendant discharged – a huge relief for the client who can now focus on their parents’ health which had begun to deteriorate during the course of proceedings. 

In allowing the application, the Court reasoned that, in order for a matter to be left to a jury, it would have to be properly open to the jury to find that all reasonable possibilities other than guilt can be excluded by the evidence. In this case however, a jury could not exclude the possibility that another person(s) put the clients documents in those premises either without his knowledge or entry into said premises. 

Timing

The matter reinforces the importance of the Prosecution serving its evidence in the case at the earliest opportunity, as the need for an application to dismiss was identified at the first hearing. An application cannot be made if the Defendant enters a plea at PTPH and consequently timing is critical when considering whether to make one.

Megan Edwards is available for instruction in all matters before the criminal courts of England and Wales. Please contact her clerks by email or telephone to discuss your needs.

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