Commission refers Colin Homer’s £278,000 tobacco smuggling confiscation order to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the case of Colin Homer to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Homer pleaded guilty to two counts each of fraudulent evasion of duty and keeping dutiable good with intent to defraud.
Mr Homer admitted that he had played a role in organising the distribution of the tobacco products in this country, but had played no part in the importation. He was sentenced in May 2005 at Leicester Crown Court to three years’ imprisonment and a confiscation order, pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, was imposed in the sum of £278,000 with five years’ imprisonment in default of payment.

Mr Homer was prosecuted by the Customs and Excise Prosecutions Office, which has since been replaced by the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO), which now forms part of the Crown Prosecution Service.

He appealed against the confiscation order to the Court of Appeal arguing that he was a worker for wages who had played no role in the evasion of duty, but the appeal was dismissed in March 2006.

Mr Homer applied to the Commission in March 2010 citing the earlier Commission referral case of Rowbotham and after being informed by RCPO that his case had been considered as part of the Chambers Review (see notes).

Having reviewed Mr Homer’s case, the Commission has referred it to the Court of Appeal because it believes that the confiscation order in this case was imposed in error as, under the 2001 regulations, Mr Homer was not liable for the excise duty and had not therefore derived a pecuniary advantage by evading or deferring payment of it.

The Commission takes the view that this raises a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash the confiscation order.

Mr Homer is represented by Grove Tompkins Bosworth, 54 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3QG.Tel: 0121-236-8091.

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 11 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.

Contact

This press release was issued by

Justin Hawkins,
Head of Communication,
Criminal Cases Review Commission,
Telephone: 0121 633 1800
E-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk