Commission refers the convictions of D to the Court of Appeal

The Commission has referred the convictions of Mr D to the Court of Appeal.

Mr D was tried in 1999 for four counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to a total of five-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

His application for leave to appeal against his conviction was refused. He applied to the Commission for a review of his case in December 2009.

The Commission has decided to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal because it considers that evidence of a retraction of evidence given by a complainant in the case gives rise to a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will find the convictions unsafe.

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

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The Commission has replaced the applicant’s name with a letter in order to protect the identity of individuals involved in the case. The letter should not be taken as an initial – where the Commission decides to anonymise a case, it does so by choosing the next letter in the alphabet following on from the last anonymised referral. When it hears the case, the Court of Appeal will make its own decision about if/how to anonymise the case.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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.