Climate Wiseman v R: Court of Appeal Upholds Fraud Conviction, Addresses Jury Directions and Costs Order

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1363
Judgment on


This article examines the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Climate Wiseman v R, EWCA-Criminal 2023 1363, providing an analysis of the key legal principles applied. This case explores the issues of false representation under the Fraud Act 2006, the sufficiency of jury directions, and the proper approach to rectifying erroneous information presented to a jury during a criminal trial.

Key Facts

Climate Wiseman, the appellant, was convicted for fraud after marketing and selling an oil mixture claimed to cure or protect against coronavirus infection. The trial revolved around whether Wiseman had acted dishonestly with the knowledge that his claims about the product were false or misleading. After conviction, Wiseman appealed on several grounds, including inadequate jury direction and the accidental presentation of prejudicial information by his defense counsel.

Additionally, Wiseman contested a costs order imposed on him, arguing that it was excessive in light of his financial circumstances and that there was no proper means enquiry conducted.

Fraud by False Representation

The case centered around s.1 and s.2 of the Fraud Act 2006, which make it an offense to dishonestly make a false representation intending to gain for oneself or to cause loss to another while knowing that the representation is or might be untrue or misleading. The two-stage Ivey v Genting Casinos test for dishonesty was applied, covering the defendant’s actual belief as to the facts and whether their conduct was dishonest by standards of ordinary decent people.

Correction of Erroneous Information and Jury Discharge

The court considered various authorities such as R v Docherty, R v Lawson, and R v Tufail, which set out the principles for dealing with mistakenly admitted prejudicial material. Factors influencing whether a jury should be discharged include the key issues in the trial, the nature and impact of the error, and the possibility of remedying the error without discharging the jury.

Costs Orders in Criminal Proceedings

Under s.35 of the Sentencing Act 2020, a court can order a convicted party to pay costs. Before making such an order, the court requires comprehensive disclosure of the defendant’s financial means. This principle is elucidated in cases like R v Melanie Shurn and R v Hillard, where transparency and disclosure of the defendant’s financial situation are considered critical.


The appeal against conviction was dismissed. The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge appropriately directed the jury on the offenses of fraud under the Fraud Act 2006, separating out the elements, and that the jury was sufficiently instructed regarding the relevance of the appellant’s religious beliefs in the context of his claims.

Regarding the inadvertent presentation of prejudicial information, the Court of Appeal found that the conviction was safe, as the judge’s correct directions confined the information’s relevancy solely to correct the factual error introduced by the defense.

The Court of Appeal also declined the renewed application for leave to appeal against the costs order, finding that the order was neither procedurally unfair nor manifestly excessive, and that the defendant had been given ample opportunity to demonstrate his means.


The Court of Appeal’s decision in Climate Wiseman v R confirms the strict standards applied in cases of fraud by false representation, illustrating the careful consideration required when directing a jury on complex legal issues, including the defendant’s knowledge and beliefs. Further, the case provides guidance on the management of inadvertent errors in trials, highlighting the judiciary’s discretion in whether to discharge a jury while considering the overarching need for a fair trial. Additionally, the ruling emphasizes the importance of full financial disclosure by defendants when contesting a costs order imposed by the court.