Ahmed Mohammed’s conviction was the 750th case to be referred by us.
In February 2004, at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court, Mr Mohammed was convicted of indecently assaulting two women in separate incidents in Tooting, South London, in the summer of 2001.
Mohammed denied having anything to do with the indecent assaults. The central issue in proceedings against Mr Mohammed was whether he had been correctly identified as the attacker.
In 2002, a jury decided that, because of mental health issues, he was not fit to plead in a full criminal trial. A trial of the facts was therefore held in which he played no active part.
Mr Mohammed advanced a defence based on alibi and the alibi was supported by a family member. The jury in the trial of the facts concluded that he had carried out the indecent assaults. The judge made a hospital order, with restrictions under s41 of the Mental Health Act 1983. The effect of that order was to have him detained in hospital. His name was also added indefinitely to the Sex Offenders Register.
Mr Mohammed’s legal representatives applied to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal against the verdict in the trial of the facts, but the application was refused.
In 2004, when his mental health had improved, Mohammed faced a full criminal trial for the offences. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted. The judge imposed another hospital order with restrictions. No attempt was made to appeal against the conviction.
In 2017 Mr Mohammed lodged an application with us. During our review, we used our section 17 powers extensively, obtaining material from the police, the Crown Court, the Court of Appeal, National Offender Management Service (NOMS), NHS records and the Forensic Archive. We also explored forensics in the case and identified a potential opportunity in using modern scientific techniques to re-analyse DNA material. The new analysis yielded a strong match between a swab and a male profile on the DNA database that was not that of Mr Mohammed.
When we investigated that male’s background it was found that he had been local to the area in which the attacks occurred. Further, contemporary police records suggested that he was a better physical match to the descriptions given by the victims. He also had a conviction for a different sexual offence committed in Tooting in 2003.
The Court accepted these arguments and quashed the conviction. It should be stressed that the new DNA evidence discovered by us does not prove that this man committed these or any other offences.