The Criminal Cases Review Commission (“CCRC”) has today referred Mr Texo Johnson’s 1972 conviction for assault with intent to rob to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Johnson was one of six young men (who later became known as the “Stockwell Six”) tried at the Old Bailey in September 1972 following an alleged attempt to rob a police officer in plain clothes. The officer in question, DS Ridgewell, led a team of officers from the British Transport Police called the “anti-mugging squad” who worked on the London Underground. Five men, including Mr Johnson were convicted at trial, the sixth man was acquitted.
Last month, three members of the “Stockwell Six” (Courtney Harriot, Paul Green and Cleveland Davidson) had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal, following earlier referrals by the CCRC (R v Green, Harriott and Davidson  EWCA Crim 1026).
Following that judgment, the CCRC appealed to the press and members of the public to help try and find the other men who had stood trial nearly 50 years ago. Mr Johnson’s sister contacted the CCRC after seeing press coverage of the case. At the time, the CCRC’s Chairman Helen Pitcher OBE said that the CCRC was “delighted” that Mr Johnson’s sister had called and put the CCRC in touch with him, describing it as “a good day for us all”.
The CCRC is still very keen to hear from the remaining members of the Stockwell Six or anyone else involved in a case where DS Ridgewell played a role.
The “Stockwell Six” is the latest in a line of cases involving DS Ridgewell that have been investigated and referred to the Court of Appeal by the CCRC. Stephen Simmons’ 1976 conviction for mailbag theft was quashed in 2018, following a detailed review by the CCRC. The CCRC then investigated and referred the cases of a group of men known as the “Oval Four”; Winston Trew, Omar Boucher, Sterling Christie and George Griffiths, which bear a striking similarity to the convictions of the “Stockwell Six”. The Court of Appeal quashed their convictions in 2019 and 2020.
Notes for editors
- The CCRC 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 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC 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 CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.
- The CCRC 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.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk. The CCRC can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate