Commission refers the murder conviction of James Lee Dunn to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the murder conviction of James Lee Dunn to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Dunn appeared at Birmingham Crown Court in July 2006 along with four other men charged with murder on the basis of joint enterprise.

He pleaded not guilty but was convicted for the murdering a man who was who was shot multiple times and with two guns in a pub car park in Coventry in April 2005. Mr Dunn was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 26 years.

Mr Dunn appealed against his conviction but the appeal was dismissed in June 2009. He applied to the Commission for a review of his case in September 2013.

Having considered the case in detail, the Commission has decided to refer Mr Dunn’s conviction to the Court of Appeal. The referral is based on previously undisclosed material relating to the reliability of a prosecution witness which raises the real possibility that the Court of Appeal will now quash the conviction.

Mr Dunn is represented Mr Maslen Merchant of Hadgkiss Hughes and Beale, 83 Alcester Road, Birmingham B13 8EB.

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.