R v Christopher Janaway [2014] EWCA Crim 2244

10th October 2014

The appellant stole a sandwich from a shop. When he was challenged by the store manager he dropped the sandwich and fled but then returned to the shop armed with a knife. He attacked the store manager, repeatedly trying to stab him. The whole incident was caught on CCTV. The appellant wasn’t represented either in the police station or at trial. He was convicted of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and theft.

“An unusual feature of these criminal proceedings was that the appellant refused at any stage to engage in the process. He refused to answer questions when interviewed by the police. He rejected the offer of legal representation. He took no part in the trial. He was unwilling to co-operate with the probation service. Indeed, he refused to leave his cell even to meet the probation officers when they wished to talk to him in order to prepare a report.”

Although concerns had been raised about the appellant’s mental health during the trial, a psychiatrist had concluded that he did not suffer from any mental disorder and his silence had been interpreted as an attempt to frustrate the Court process. He was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection. The minimum term before first Parole review was set at 3 years.

On appeal, Jason Elliott, with the assistance of 2 psychiatrists, was able to demonstrate that –

“…the initial medical report upon which the Crown Court was proceeding at the time of trial and sentence was mistaken. In the light of the very full medical evidence which is now before this court, we can see that the appellant’s strange behaviour on the day of his offence, namely coming back to the shop after he had left, and the appellant’s strange behaviour throughout the criminal process was a manifestation of his schizophrenia…”

The sentence of imprisonment for public protection was quashed and an Order under the Mental Health Act was substituted.

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