CCRC refers the case of Z to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the case of Mr Z to the Court of Appeal

Between 2006 and 2008 Mr Z stood trial on three counts of sexual assault and one of rape, each involving the same person. He pleaded not guilty to all charges but was convicted and sentenced to a total of eight years’ imprisonment.

Mr Z tried to appeal against the convictions but was refused leave to appeal. He applied to the Commission in September 2008.

Having investigated a range of issues, including the reliability of evidence heard at trial, the Commission has decided to refer Mr Z’s convictions to the Court of Appeal because it considers that there is a real possibility that the Court will conclude the convictions are unsafe.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 633 1806 or e-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.

There are nine Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.

The Commission receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year.Typically, around 4%, or one in 25, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made.;New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.

If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.