The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the sexual offences conviction of Mr Z to the Crown Court.
Mr Z appeared at Lewes Crown Court in April 2007 charged with causing a child to watch a sexual act (pornography) contrary to section 12(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and with sexual activity with a child contrary to section 9(1) and (2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to a total of four years’ imprisonment and ordered to remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.
Mr Z tried to appeal but his application for leave to appeal was dismissed in September 2007. He applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2012.
During the course of its detailed review of the case, the Commission used its statutory powers to obtain information from a number of sources.
During analysis of the CPS correspondence, and Social Services and Child Protection Team files, the Commission identified a body of relevant information that had not been disclosed to the defence at the time of the trial or appeal.
The Commission has decided to refer the case for appeal on the basis that this new evidence, relating the credibility of a key witness, raises a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash the conviction.
The Commission has anonymised the identity of Mr Z in order to protect the identity of other parties involved in the case.
Mr Z is represented in his application to the Commission by Mr Mark Newby of QualitySolicitors Jordans, 4 Priory Place, Doncaster, DN1 1BP.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- The Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.