The Criminal Cases Review Commission (“CCRC”) has referred the conviction of Ms G to the Crown Court.
On 20 March 2012 Ms G pleaded guilty to a single charge of failure to produce an immigration document pursuant to s2(1) and (9) of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. She was sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment by the magistrates’ court.
Ms G, an Iranian national, arrived in the UK at Heathrow airport on 16 March 2012. Although she had travelled on a genuine passport, she had given this to the agent who facilitated her travel, on the understanding that he needed them to obtain visas for their onward travel to Canada. The agent disappeared in the airport and Ms G had no option other than to claim asylum.
The CCRC has decided to refer Ms G’s case for an appeal because:
- There is a statutory defence of “reasonable excuse” to this offence;
- There is a real possibility that the Crown Court will find that this defence would quite probably have succeeded in Ms G’s case; and
- Ms G was not advised of the existence of the defence before she entered her plea.
As Ms G pleaded guilty in the magistrates’ court, she cannot appeal her conviction directly. The CCRC has decided that this gives rise to “exceptional circumstances” that allow a referral by the CCRC in the absence of an earlier appeal.
Ms G was not represented in her application to the CCRC.
This press release was issued by the Communications Team, Criminal Cases Review Commission. They can be contacted by phone on: 0121 232 0900 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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