Richard Gordon was convicted of the attempted murder of Brian Cleary. The jury also convicted him of carrying a knife in a public place. It was argued on his behalf that the same species facti could not convict him of both offences. 

The appellant and his co-accused were both on trial for attempted murder, including serious injury, permanent disfigurement and permanent impairment through the use of a knife. The court heard at trial that the complainer had visited the appellant’s flat and had consumed alcohol or Valium. He left the flat and then woke up in hospital. 

Mr Shields incriminated the appellant and it was heard that he followed the complainer and got into a fight with him at the bus stop. He then stabbed him with a knife. The jury heard how the appellant had lied to police about his version of events. 

It was argued on behalf of the appellant that the trial judge had misdirected the jury. The basis for this being that he failed to inform them that they could not convict the appellant on both charges based on the same species facti. It was submitted that there required to be proof that the appellant had the weapon with him and intended to cause injury. 

The trial judge imposed consecutive custodial sentences of 7 years and 3 years. In the appeal against sentence, it was argued the sentences should have been imposed concurrently. 

Lady Dorrian, in providing the opinion of the court stated: “It is incorrect to say that it was only the facts showing commission of the first charge which proved the intent required for the second charge. The requisite intention, and that it had been formed prior to the actual assault, could be inferred from the fact that after their argument the appellant followed the complainer from the building, at which point he was seen fiddling with an object which could have been the knife. There was thus evidence apt to prove each offence independently of the other.”

She continued: “Taking the charge as a whole we do not consider there to have been any material misdirection, let alone a miscarriage of justice.”

In considering the appeal against sentence, she stated: “The appellant armed himself with a knife, took it with him into a public place with the intention of using it to cause harm, and attempted to murder the victim with it. In these circumstances, against his very bad record, we cannot say that an overall sentence of 10 years is excessive.”

The appeal against conviction and sentence was refused.