The appellant, Patrick Hattie, argued that at trial the judge had provided insufficient directions to the jury in respect of the appellant’s police interview. At trial the appellant was found guilty of 3 contraventions of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The court heard that the appellant rented a yard in Shotts and from this he operated a repair and paint business. In November 2018, he made arrangements with a transportation company to deliver a compressor to a fake business. The police later seized a container that had been picked up from the appellant’s yard. The container was found to have a significant quantity of drugs. The Crown argued that the compressor and the container were the same item.
In a police interview the appellant stated that he did not know anything about the container on his property or the van used to collect it. As a result, it was argued that the appellant was innocent in the operation. 
However, in his charge to the jury the judge provided directions regarding what the Crown are required to prove in relation to the charge. The appellant argued that due to the police interview the situation provided a statutory defence under section 28 of the 1971 Act and as a result the jury should have been given directions on this. This was rejected by the court. 
However, another issue came from the trial judge’s use of written directions and his method of delivering his initial directions at the beginning of the case. Therefore, it was accepted by the Crown that the trial judge had failed to direct the jury on the use of the police interview with the appellant. 
In providing the opinion of the court, Lady Dorian stated: “The pre-trial direction did not make reference to the appellant’s police interview, and seems in any event more to be directed towards statements made by an accused person in ordinary conversation. The appellant’s police interview was played to the jury. He did not give evidence, and the whole substance of his defence was contained in the police interview. The jury were given no guidance on the matter at all.”
She continued: “In our view the advocate depute was correct to say that, in the circumstances of this case, this was a material misdirection which could not be cured. A verdict returned on the basis of such a serious omission can only be considered to amount to a miscarriage of justice.”
In conclusion she said: “The charge must be designed for the individual trial and to help the jury address the specific issues arising in it. In this case the charge as a whole failed to do that. It does not engage with the true issues in the case. It is formulaic and lacks the approach, which has repeatedly been emphasised, that requires a bespoke charge which engages with the specifics of the particular trial and the particular issues that arise for decision.”