Commission refers the murder conviction of Jonathan Embleton to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the murder conviction of Jonathan Embleton to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Embleton and two co-defendants pleaded not guilty but were convicted at Teeside Crown Court in November 2000 of the joint enterprise murder of Mohammed Sharif. Mr Embleton was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years.

Mr Embleton appealed against his conviction but the appeal was dismissed in April 2003. He applied to the Commission for a review of his case in November 2010.

Having conducted a detailed review, the Commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Appeal because it considers that there is new evidence which raises a real possibility that the Court will quash the conviction.

The referral is based on sensitive information. That information has therefore been provided by the Commission to the Court of Appeal and to the Crown Prosecution Service in a confidential annex to the Statement of Reasons. Mr Embleton and his legal team have been provided with a copy of the Statement Reasons but they have not been given the confidential annex.

Mr Embleton has been represented in his application to the CCRC by Tremletts Solicitors, Kingsway House, 134-140 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2DL.

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

Notes for 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 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.