Case details

Anderson (Appellant) v Her Majesty's Attorney General (Respondent) Isle of Man)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0044

Jurisdiction: The High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man (Staff of Government Division)

Case summary


(1) Whether the Appellant was inadequately represented by the Defence trial advocate in relation to diminished responsibility;
(2) Whether there was inequality of arms between the Appellant and the Prosecution as a result of the refusal of a licence for leading Defence counsel;
(3) Whether the Deemster failed properly to direct the jury in relation to diminished responsibility;
(4) Whether, taken together, issues (1) to (3) deprived the Appellant of proving that his responsibility was diminished, such that a conviction for manslaughter should be substituted.


The Appellant was convicted on 17 April 2015 of the murder of Neil Edward Roberts (‘the Deceased’) on 30 November 2013. Both were drinking and later met at the Appellant’s home. The precise events that followed are unclear. Nonetheless, at 1:04am, the police were called and, on arrival, found the Deceased, already lifeless. The Appellant maintained that he had acted in self-defence. Provocation and diminished responsibility were also raised at trial.

During his trial, the Appellant was represented two local Manx advocates. The Defence obtained evidence from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, both of whom provided foundations for a finding of diminished responsibility. The Prosecution also obtained a report from an expert: she originally disagreed as to the possibility of diminished responsibility, but then changed her mind in two subsequent reports. On a Defence application, her evidence was excluded entirely, and no evidence as to ‘substantial impairment’ was adduced at trial (despite its mention in the evidence of the psychiatrist instructed by the Defence). The judge referred to this in summing up, and the Appellant was subsequently convicted of murder.





Her Majesty's Attorney General



Lord Hodge, Lord Hamblen, Lord Burrows, Lord Stephens, Sir Adrian Fulford

Hearing start date

17 May 2021

Hearing finish date

17 May 2021


The footage of this hearing and the Judicial Committee’s judgment will be available after the conclusion of any proceedings in the lower courts.