On the morning of Thursday, 18 February, the Supreme Court is due to hand down an important judgement on the use of ‘joint enterprise’ powers to convict individuals only indirectly involved in an offence.
The ruling, in the case of R v Jogee, relates to an appeal by Ameen Hassan Jogee, who is serving a sentence of life imprisonment. Jogee was convicted of murder even though it was his friend, Mohammed Adnam Hirsi, who killed their victim, Paul Fyfe.
The Supreme Court will be focusing on whether, in order to convict Jogee under joint enterprise, the prosecution needed to prove that it was ‘probable’, rather than merely ‘possible’, that Jogee could have foresaw that Hirsi would have used a knife to kill Paul Fyfe.
In January 2016, the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies published a report on the use of joint enterprise powers: Dangerous associations: Joint enterprise, gangs and racism. The report draws on a survey of nearly 250 serving prisoners convicted under joint enterprise provisions. It also tracks the complex process of criminalisation through which black and minority ethnic people are unfairly identified by the police as members of dangerous gangs.
The report concludes that, for all its injustices, the process of joint enterprise prosecution is not intended to be discriminatory. But in practice, young black and minority ethnic people are disproportionately at the receiving end of a series of criminal justice practices that increase the risk that they will be convicted under joint enterprise powers.
The research can be downloaded at the following link: http://www.crimeandjustice.
For comment on the report in relation to the Supreme Court judgement contact the report authors:
Both authors work at Manchester Metropolitan Universit