HMA v Michael Ritchie 2020

Mr Ritchie has had his appeal against conviction rejected after arguing at the High Court that it was his brother who committed the crime and not him. Mr Ritchie was found guilty of housebreaking and stealing jewellery. The appellant’s DNA was on a torch used in the crime. However the appellant argued that it was his torch that he had given to his brother.

The appellant claimed that the Judge misdirected the jury in his charge on the defence position in the case. However, the high Court confirmed there was no miscarriage of justice. The appellant received a 21 month sentence which will remain in place. The Lord Justice General stated in concluding the appeal: “The sheriff could have expressed herself with greater clarity in relation to the onus remaining on the defence when dealing specifically with the appellant’s version, as given in his interview, and when dealing with the torch and the defence expert’s view of the DNA coming partly from an unknown source.” However, this did not amount to a miscarriage of Justice and there was, ‘no material misdirection.’