The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the assault conviction of Simon Williamson to the Crown Court (see note one).
Mr Williamson was convicted on November 2010 at City of Westminster Magistrates Court when he pleaded guilty to common assault and being drunk and disorderly in a public place. The charges arose from a disagreement on a tube train near Goodge Street Underground Station in London.
He was sentenced to a 12 week curfew order monitored by electronic tag and ordered to pay £500 compensation.
Because he pleaded guilty in a magistrates court, Mr Williamson had no right of appeal against his conviction. His attempt to have the case reopenend at the magistrates court failed. He applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in June 2013.
The Commission has decided to refer Mr Williamson’s conviction for appeal at the Crown Court because it considers that there is a real possibility that an appeal the Crown would succeed. The referral is made on the basis that Mr Williamson’s guilty plea was based on misinformation and erroneous advice about the extent of the evidence against him, and on the basis of new expert evidence relating to the CCTV that suggests the complainant’s statement was unreliable.
Mr Williamson was represented in his application to the Commission by Mr Matthew Elkins of Old Bailey Solicitors, Old Bailey, London.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or e-mail email@example.com
Notes for editors
- A referral by the Commission of a conviction from a magistrates’ court results in an appeal by way of a re-hearing at the Crown Court. In this case the court in question is Southwark Crown Court.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.