The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the malicious communications conviction of A to the Crown Court.
Mr A was convicted at magistrates court in 2014 of sending a communication conveying false information with the intent to cause distress, contrary to section 1 (1)(a) of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, (“MCA 1988”). He was sentenced to 24 weeks’ imprisonment.
Mr A’s sentence was reduced on appeal to four months’ imprisonment, but his appeal against conviction was dismissed and he applied to the CCRC.
Having considered the case in detail, the CCRC has decided to refer Mr A’s case to the Crown Court because it considers that there is a real possibility that his conviction will not be upheld.
The referral is based on a new legal argument, not previously raised, that A’s action of posting a blog on the internet did not amount to “sending… to another person” as required by section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988.
Mr A was not legally represented in his application to the Commission.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- 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.
- 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.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at ccrc.gov.uk The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate and on Facebook at @criminalcasesreview