Rapper Ceon Broughton wins appeal against manslaughter conviction following festival death of Louella Fletcher-Michie

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Ceon Broughton was represented by Stephen Kamlish QC of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team leading Richard Thomas of Doughty Street Chambers instructed by Alastair Lyon of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors. 

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Ceon Broughton, a rapper jailed over the death of his partner Louella Fletcher-Michie from a drug overdose at Bestival has won his appeal against his manslaughter conviction. Broughton’s conviction in 2019 and seven-year prison sentence for manslaughter was quashed on 18 August 2020 by the Court of Appeal. The appeal was heard before The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett, Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Murray.

Ms Fletcher-Michie was the daughter of Holby City actor John Michie. She had taken a dose of the drug 2-CP prior to her death.

The prosecution case at trial was that Broughton was to blame for the death as he had not taken his girlfriend to a medical tent at the festival.

Mounting an appeal against his conviction for manslaughter by gross negligence, Stephen Kamlish QC of Garden Court Chambers argued an expert witness had acknowledged that Miss Fletcher-Michie might not have survived even with medical help.

Quashing his conviction, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, sitting with Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Murray, found that the trial judge should have dismissed the case out before the jury found Broughton guilty. They said:

“In our view, this is one of those rare cases where the expert evidence was all that the jury had to assist them in answering the question on causation. That expert evidence was not capable of establishing causation to the criminal standard. In this very sad case the task of the jury was to ask whether the evidence established to the criminal standard that, with medical intervention as soon as possible after Louella’s condition presented a serious and obvious risk of death, she would have lived. 

In short, had the prosecution excluded the realistic possibility that, despite such treatment, Louella would have died? In our judgment none of Professor Deakin’s descriptive language achieved that. We conclude that the appellant’s main argument, that the case should have been withdrawn from the jury, is established. The evidence adduced by the prosecution was incapable of proving causation to the criminal standard of proof. The appeal against conviction for manslaughter must be allowed.”

A statement issued by Birnberg Peirce Solicitors on behalf of Ceon Broughton read:

“The Court of Appeal has today found that Louella’s death occurred not as a result of criminal negligence but was instead a tragic accident. Ceon remains devastated by her death. He has always wished that he could have done more to save her. He loved Louella and she him, but he knows that no words will ever be sufficient to convey his sense of responsibility for what happened or to begin to remove the pain that others have been caused.”

Ceon Broughton is expected to be released from prison today. The court of appeal has not ordered a retrial.

This case has been widely reported in the media including the BBC, the Mirror, the Guardian and Sky News. The full judgment can be read here.

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