Commission statement on the Court of Appeal decision to uphold the conviction of Simon Hall

The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the murder conviction of Simon Hall to the Court of Appeal in October 2009.

The CCRC said: The Commission identified specific aspects of forensic evidence that, in our view, raised the real possibility that the court might quash Mr Hall’s conviction and we referred the case to the Court of Appeal accordingly. In this case, as in any other case involving a referral made by the Commission, it is the role of the appeal court to decide whether or not the conviction is unsafe. In this case the Court decided it is not.

As in all Commission referral cases, we will study the Court’s judgment in detail to see what lessons it may hold for us.

Notes to editors

  • 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.
  • there are nine 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 receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Typically, around 4%, or one in 25, 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.

Contact

This press release was issued by

Justin Hawkins,
Head of Communication,
Criminal Cases Review Commission,
Telephone: 0121 633 1800
E-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk