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Commission refers the public order conviction of James Robson

The CCRC has referred for appeal the 2017 public order conviction of James Robson.

Mr Robson was convicted at Bexley Magistrates’ Court on 13th September 2017 of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour in order to cause harassment, alarm or distress. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to a six month community order with a four month curfew.

In 2018 Mr Robson appealed against his conviction and sentence to Croydon Crown Court but his conviction for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour was upheld[1]. He applied to the CCRC later that year.

Having investigated the case in detail, the CCRC has decided to refer Mr Robson’s conviction for appeal at the Crown Court because it considers there is a real possibility that the court will not uphold the conviction.

The referral is based on new evidence in the form of previously undisclosed material relating to the credibility of a key witness in the case. The Commission considers that the non-disclosure of that material was a breach of s.3 of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 in that it was material which could have assisted the defence or undermined the prosecution case.

Mr Robson was not represented in his application to the CCRC.

[1] At his trial in September 2017, Mr Robson was also convicted of harassment but that conviction was quashed at the appeal in 2018 after the prosecution said it would not oppose the appeal on that charge.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 633 1806 or e-mail

Notes for editors

A referral by the Commission of a summary conviction (i.e. from magistrates’ court) results in an appeal by way of a re-hearing at the Crown Court.

  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 13 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 1,400 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.
  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 The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate