R v Holderness [2009] EWCA Crim 1326

The appellant argued that, due to a mental illness which she had previously concealed, she ought to have been convicted of diminished responsibility manslaughter rather than murder. This argument was rejected as (1) her appeal depended on her credibility, which had been damaged by her series of lies; (2) her excuse for concealment even up to trial - that she hoped to be let go by appearing well - was not credible; (3) she had ample opportunity to observe other patients' illnesses; (4) it was not probable that she could have concealed the delusions from the psychiatrist who saw her on the day of arrest. No jury might reasonably have found, on the balance of probabilities, that the s2 Homicide Act 1957 criteria were met. Appeal dismissed.


Hearing: 29 June 2009

Judgment: 6 July 2009

Before: Keen LJ; Mrs Justice Dobbs DBE; HHJ Stokes QC, Recorded of Nottingham (sitting as a Judge of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division)

Peter Weatherby (instructed by Switalskis Solicitors, Wakefield WF1 2TF) for the Appellant

Andrew Campbell QC (instructed by CPS, Bradford BD5 0QH ) for the Respondent

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