The Court of Appeal no longer had the power, since the amendment of section 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, to allow an appeal against conviction if it did not think the conviction was unsafe but was dissatisfied in some way with the trial process, since there was no longer room for the separate notion of an "unsatisfactory" conviction. An accused who had changed his plea to guilty, following a ruling by the trial judge allowing the admission of prosecution evidence which made the case against him factually overwhelming, was not entitled to appeal against conviction, since his change of plea was not "founded upon" an erroneous ruling by the judge.
Regina v Chalkley and anor; Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) (Lord Justice Auld, Mr Justice Ian Kennedy and Mr Justice Blofeld) 19 December 1997
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of Tony Michael Chalkley and Tony Brisbane McEwan Jeffries against their convictions on 30 October of conspiracy to rob, both men having changed their pleas to guilty after a ruling by the trial judge that the prosecution could adduce evidence of tape recorded conversations which were highly damaging to the defence case. Timothy Cassell QC (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for Chalkley; Thomas Brown (Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for Jeffries; Howard Morrison (Crown Prosecution Service) for the Crown. Lord Justice Auld said that the sole test in deciding an appeal against conviction under the new section 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, substituted by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, was whether the conviction was unsafe. Section 2(1) in its old and new forms respectively entitled the Court of Appeal to quash as unsafe a conviction based on a plea of guilty where the plea was mistaken or uninformed or without intention to admit the truth of the offence charged. In the case of the old form it was commonly said that a conviction might also be quashed where the plea was "founded upon" a material irregularity, or, it was submitted for the appellants, an erroneous ruling on a point of law. …