Commission refers the conviction of Montazar Chberei to the Crown Court

 The Commission has referred the conviction of Montazar Chberei to the Crown Court.

Mr Chberei was convicted of speeding by Harrow Magistrates’ Court on 24th March 2010. He was fined £350, ordered to pay £100 costs and had his driving license endorsed with six penalty points.

The police had stopped a motorist for speeding and the driver had given his details as Montazar Chberei. When Mr Chberei failed to pay the fixed penalty, a summons was issued. When he failed to respond, or attend court, he was convicted in his absence.

When he eventually learned that he had been convicted in his absence, Mr Chberei sought to appeal against his conviction in the Crown Court at Harrow[1]. He said it must be a case of ‘mistaken’ identity because he had not been the driver of the car in question and he have never owned or driven the vehicle. The appeal was dismissed.

Mr Chberei applied to the Commission in August 2010 and in January 2011 informed the Commission he believed that the driver on the day in question had been another individual who was known to him.

The Commission investigated the case and has decided to refer the conviction to the Crown Court because it considers that new evidence that another individual, on various occasions, sought to pass himself off to the police as Mr Chberei, or as some other person, raises a real possibility that Mr Chberei’s conviction would not be upheld on a rehearing in the Crown Court.

Mr Chberei was not been legally represented during his application to the Commission.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. 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.

2. There currently nine 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 receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Our current rates of referral are around 4%, which means around one in 25 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”.

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


[1] Convictions arising from a magistrates court are appealed in the Crown Court.