Umar Azmeh comments on Overwhelming supervening act: R v Grant [2021] EWCA Crim 1243 in the Criminal Law Review

Umar Azmeh comments on Overwhelming supervening act: R v Grant [2021] EWCA Crim 1243 in the Criminal Law Review

BCL associate Umar Azmeh’s case comment on Overwhelming supervening act: R v Grant (Tony Lee) [2021] EWCA Crim. 1243 has been published in the latest edition of the Criminal Law Review.

*Here is a short extract from the article:

The February 2022 edition of Criminal Law Review carries Umar Azmeh’s case comment on R v Grant (Tony Lee) [2021] EWCA Crim. 1243 which concerned the question of whether the trial judge erred in refusing to give the jury a direction on a potential overwhelming supervening act where the principal’s act of using his car to run over and kill the victim departed from the agreed plan between the principal and Grant to attack the victim and cause grievous bodily harm.

Having gone in a vehicle to find the victim, and with Grant in the front passenger seat – the plan being to set upon the victim with weapons – the principal drove the car into the victim, killing him instantly. It was argued at trial that the principal’s action of driving the car into the victim and killing him was such a departure from the agreed plan, which was to inflict grievous bodily harm upon the victim using weapons carried in the car, that it ought to constitute an overwhelming supervening act therefore leaving it open to the jury to find Grant guilty of manslaughter rather than murder. The judge was unimpressed with this argument and refused to leave the question to the jury, with Grant appealing this decision.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, holding inter alia, that the core question whether Grant’s conduct was “so distanced in time place or circumstances from the conduct of the perpetrator that it would not be realistic to regard his or her offence as encouraged or assisted by it” (R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8; [2017] AC 387). In this case, that high bar had not been met.

Umar’s article analyses the Court of Appeal’s decision, and discusses the considerations relevant to the degree of departure required from a joint enterprise

*This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in February 2022. If you wish to read the full article, please visit Thomson Reuters Westlaw website.

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Umar Azmeh is a solicitor at BCL, specialising in business crime, financial crime, and regulatory investigations. He has significant experience of criminal investigations involving money laundering and bribery, and has worked with clients on sanctions, tax, and proceeds of crime issues. He has expertise in commercial litigation, including civil fraud with an international dimension, and particularly where there is a criminal aspect. He has also advised both corporations and individuals on potential liability under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Fraud Act 2006, and the Bribery Act 2010, which includes drafting relevant policies for corporate clients.

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