Commission refers the drugs conspiracy conviction of Jeanette Burke to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the conviction of Jeanette Burke to the Court of Appeal.

Ms Burke appeared at Liverpool Crown Court in 2006 charged with one count of conspiracy to supply cocaine and another of conspiracy to supply heroin. She was one of a number of people prosecuted for these offences following a lengthy Merseyside Police and HM Customs and Excise operation known as Operation Lima.

Some of the alleged conspirators pleaded guilty. Ms Burke was among a number of others who pleaded not guilty but she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Ms Burke appealed against her conviction but the appeal was dismissed in 2008. She applied to the Commission for a review of her case in 2012.

Having considered the case in detail the Commission has decided to refer Ms Burke’s conviction to the Court of Appeal.

The referral is made on the ground that the non-disclosure of the bases of plea of co-accused conspirators potentially undermines the safety of Ms Burke’s conviction and therefore raises a real possibility that the Court will now quash her conviction.

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

Notes for editors

  1. The 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 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.
  3. 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.
  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.