Commission refers the murder conviction of Mark Dorling to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the murder conviction of Mark Dorling to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Dorling was tried at the Central Criminal Court in London in 2006 for the murder of Aaron Chapman. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted on 19th April and sentenced to life imprisonment with a tariff of 25 years.

Aaron Chapman, a former prison officer, was attacked with a knife at his Surrey home in December 2002.  The following day he died from multiple stab wounds.

Mr Dorling sought to appeal against his conviction but his appeal was dismissed. He applied to the Commission for a review of his conviction in March 2012.

Having considered the case in detail, the Commission has decided to refer Mr Dorling’s murder conviction to the Court of Appeal. The referral is based new information that has emerged since the trial, and on other evidence that was available at the time of the trial but that was not disclosed to the defence. The Commission considers that this material raises a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will now quash the conviction.

Mr Dorling 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.