Drawing the line: Experts, directions and the “ultimate issue”

How should a judge direct a jury where an expert witness has given their opinion on the “ultimate issue” to be decided in the case? The answer, the Court of Appeal has confirmed, is: carefully. In R v Sellu [2016] EWCA Crim 1716, the Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of the Appellant, a consultant surgeon, for gross negligence manslaughter on the grounds that the trial judge had failed to adequately direct the jury as to the meaning of gross negligence, in circumstances where expert witnesses had expressly given their view as to whether the conduct of the Appellant amounted to the same.

Michael Harwood’s article can be seen here.  Michael is a pupil barrister and not available for instruction.