Essex

Response to queries following the conviction of Chris Carroll for the murder of Darren Kelly

27/05/2016

We have been asked by the media and members of the public why three of the defendants who were charged with the murder of Darren Kelly were not charged with a lesser offence than murder. We have also been asked whether they can now be prosecuted for a lesser offence. This explanation may be of assistance.

The prosecution's case was opened to the jury on the basis that all four defendants were part of a plan intentionally to cause Darren Kelly at least really serious bodily harm. This is the same intention as that required for an offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Where such intention is found and death results, the correct charge is one of murder. Therefore, the jury was asked to consider whether each individual was guilty of murder on a joint enterprise basis, having heard all of the evidence. The prosecution also informed the jury when opening the case that an alternative verdict of manslaughter could be returned if they were of the view that only some harm was intended by one or all of the defendants. 

During the course of summing up the case, the Judge directed the jury about the alternative offence of manslaughter. If they were of the view that a defendant intended only that Mr Kelly should suffer some harm, falling short of really serious harm, it was open to the jury to find that defendant guilty of manslaughter and not murder.

It is not possible or appropriate to pursue lesser charges against the three teenage defendants as there is no recourse to a re-trial on the same facts. Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows for re-trials only where new and compelling evidence has come to light.

While fully respecting the decision of the jury, we are satisfied that the case was properly charged and prosecuted.