Commission refers the case of Ms E to the Crown Court

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the case of SE to the Crown Court.

Ms E arrived at Gatwick Airport on a flight from Turkey in September 2009. She presented herself at Immigration Control without a passport saying she was an Iranian national who wished to claim asylum. She said she had been involved in political demonstrations in Iran and was in fear of the authorities there.

She had left Iran a month earlier and travelled on foot to Turkey where she surrendered her Iranian passport to an “agent” who arranged her passage to the UK.

She was arrested at Gatwick and charged failing to produce an
immigration document, contrary to section 2(1) of the Asylum and
Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004.

She was remanded in custody overnight at a police station. The following day, on the advice of a solicitor paid for by Legal Aid, Ms E entered a guilty plea at Crawley Magistrates’ Court. She was convicted and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

Ms E was not able to appeal against her conviction because there is no right of appeal for people who plead guilty in a magistrates’ court.

In 2010, the Home Office recognised Ms E as a refugee; in 2015 she was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

In November 2017 she applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of her case.

Having reviewed the case the Commission has decided to refer Ms E’s conviction for an appeal at the Crown Court.

The referral is made on the basis of new evidence and new argument to suggest that Ms E should have been entitled to rely on the statutory defence under section 2(4)(c) Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004, and that that defence would probably have succeeded.

Ms E was represented in her application to the CCRC by Ms S. Eglinton of Dalton Holmes Gray, 7a D’Arblay Street, London, W1F 8DF.

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.    The Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently 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.

2.    There are currently seven 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.

3.    The Commission usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year.  On average, around 3%, or one in 30, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

4.    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”.

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

6.    More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate