The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the case of Nicholas Roddis to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Roddis pleaded not guilty at Leeds Crown Court in July 2008 to charges of placing a hoax bomb with intent and engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism.
Mr Roddis was arrested and charged in relation to two incidents. In May 2007 he had built a hoax bomb from bags of sugar wrapped in tape, wires and an alarm clock, and left it on a bus in Rotherham causing the bus to be evacuated. In July 2007 he caused concern after he showed some former colleagues a bag of replica bullets and defunct commercial explosives claiming they were real bullets and live landmines.
The prosecution case was that, taken as a whole, the evidence suggested Mr Roddis was intent upon committing a terrorist act. It was argued that he identified with militant Islamists and that the evidence pointed toward him preparing to commit terrorist acts. The defence case was that Mr Roddis was a harmless fantasist of previous good character and with no links to terrorist organisations.
He was convicted in July 2008 and sentenced to a total of seven years’ imprisonment (two for placing a hoax bomb and five, to run consecutively, for the preparation of an act of terrorism). He was acquitted by the jury on four other charges.
Mr Roddis sought to appeal against his conviction for the preparation of an act of terrorism, but his appeal was dismissed in March 2009.
He first applied first to the CCRC in 2010 but the Commission was unable to refer his case for appeal. He applied again in 2014 by which time he was at liberty.
Having reviewed the case in detail, the Commission has decided to refer Mr Roddis’ case for appeal because it considers that there is a real possibility the Court will quashed the conviction.
The referral is based on new evidence that Mr Roddis had an Autistic Spectrum Disorder which was undiagnosed at the time of trial and which would have provided the jury with crucial evidence on which they could have assessed the issue of Mr Roddis’ intent.
Mr Roddis was represented in his application to the CCRC by Helen Hillstead of LP Evans Solicitors, 50 Essex Street, London, WC2R 3JF.
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
1. 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.
2. There are currently seven 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. On average, around 3%, or one in 30, 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.
6. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate