Bristol

Dolton Powell murder: Joint enterprise ruling causes charge rethink

Dolton Powell Image copyright Handout
Image caption Dolton Powell died in hospital after being found injured in a community centre car park

Prosecutors are reconsidering murder charges in the trial of eight people following a Supreme Court ruling on the joint enterprise law.

Dolton Powell, 21, died after a party at the All Nations Community Centre in Gloucester on 23 August last year.

Eight people face murder charges, but a hearing at Bristol Crown Court was told the prosecution needed "time to digest" the Supreme Court ruling.

Judges ruled joint enterprise was wrongly used to convict in some cases.


Joint Enterprise Ruling

Joint enterprise had been used to convict people in gang-related cases if defendants "could" have foreseen violent acts by their associates.

However, judges ruled on Wednesday that it was wrong to treat "foresight" as a sufficient test.

Joint enterprise law has been used to convict and hand down long sentences in several high-profile cases including the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The 18-year-old was stabbed to death in a racially motivated murder in Eltham, south-east London.

The joint enterprise ruling will apply in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and most UK overseas common law territories but not in Scotland, which has its own rules on joint enterprise.


Following the Supreme Court ruling, prosecuting barrister James Ward told Bristol Crown Court the Dolton Powell murder is "one of the cases which will certainly be affected".

The court was told there was a possibility a number of the defendants will not be facing a charge of murder, but a lesser charge of manslaughter.

"There certainly remains a count of murder against one, but the remainder of the indictments remains to be seen," added Mr Ward.

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