HMA v Steven Barclay 2020

Mr Barclay has had his appeal against conviction refused after being found guilty of producing cannabis and supplying class B drugs. This was despite the High Court agreeing that the Sheriff had misdirected the jury. However, the High Court confirmed that this misdirection did not result in a miscarriage of justice as it was not a material one and there was strong evidence against the appellant.

The sheriff gave lengthy explanations in his charge to the jury after the trial of the common law act of acting in ’concert.’ There was also a co-accused in this case. However, this does not apply to statutory provisions and cannot apply to this charged the appellant was charged with. The High Court of Justiciary when concluding their appeal stated: “We therefore agree with the submission presented on behalf the appellant and with the concession tendered by the Crown to the effect that the concept of art and part guilt has no part to play in establishing guilt on a charge brought under section 4(3)(b) of the Act.

We agree that the sheriff’s directions constituted a misdirection in relation to charge 2. Since the Crown did not rely on the doctrine of concert to any extent and invited attention only to the evidence implicating each accused individually, we also agree that the directions on concert given by the sheriff constituted a misdirection in relation to charge 5.”The overall decision as that this however did not quash the conviction. However, the High court did agree with the appellant that his jail terms should run concurrently and not consecutively. The appellant as a result will spend less time imprisoned.