Commission refers convictions of Jason Garland

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the convictions of Jason Garland to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Garland appeared at St Albans Crown Court in 2007 charged with burglary, aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted on 20th December 2007 and sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment.

The burglary occurred in July 2006 at the Harvester Public House, Croxley Green, Watford. The landlord and landlady of the pub were attacked with knives and badly injured during the burglary.

Evidence linking another man, Steven Ruffolo, to the burglary and attack led to his arrest a week after the incident. Mr Ruffolo was convicted in January 2007. Prior to sentence, he named Jason Garland as his accomplice.

Mr Garland denied any involvement in the offence and relied on alibi evidence provided by his girlfriend.

In 2010 Mr Garland tried unsuccessfully to appeal against his conviction. Later that year he applied to the Commission for a review of his conviction.

Having conducted a detailed review of the case the Commission has decided to refer Mr Garland’s convictions to the Court of Appeal.

The referral is made on the basis that the deliberate non-disclosure of information available to the police and the Crown, which could have affected the outcome of Mr Garland’s trial, raises a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will conclude that Mr Garland’s convictions are unsafe.

The undisclosed information uncovered by the Commission and on which the referral is based is of a sensitive nature. It has therefore been provided to the Court of Appeal and to the Crown Prosecution Service in a confidential annex to the Commission’s Statement of Reasons. Mr Garland and his legal team have been provided with a copy of the Statement Reasons but they have not been given the confidential annex.
Mr Garland is represented by Henry’s Solicitors, 72-74 Wellington Road South, Stockport, Cheshire SK1 1QZ.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or e-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk
Notes for editors

1. This is the first time that the Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred a case for appeal under such circumstances.

2. The 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.

3. There are currently 12 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.

4. The Commission usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Typically, around 3.5%, or one in 29, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

5. 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”.

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