Coercive and controlling behaviour: Impact on convictions

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In February 2019 Sally Challen’s murder conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal have ordered a re-trial after hearing that she suffered four decades of controlling behaviour and humiliation at the hands of Richard Challen, her husband of 31 years. Mr Challen was killed in August 2010.

Sally Challen, a 65 year old police federation officer, was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment following a Trial at Gilford Crown Court later reduced to 18 years on appeal.

The Court of Appeal heard that there was evidence from a Psychiatrist that she was suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing that undermined the safety of her conviction. This evidence was not available at the time of her trial and the Court quashed the conviction and ordered a re-trial. Interestingly, the Court of Appeal refused to substitute a Manslaughter verdict for Mrs Challen.

The case is in keeping with many recent prosecutions for the new offence of Controlling and Coercive Behaviour and it remains to be seen:
1) What the outcome of the re-trial will be?
2) Whether other convictions committed in similar circumstances would be overturned. This could prove to be a significant finding.

If you require any assistance in respect of any criminal law matter then please contact a member of our criminal law team who would be more than happy to assist.

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