Liverpool Crown Court has overturned the conviction of a man trafficked to the UK as a child following a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
‘Mr Q’ was arrested in 2017 inside a cannabis farm and pleaded guilty in Warrington magistrates’ court to cultivating a class B drug.
However, just two years earlier the Home Office had determined he was a victim of human trafficking when he came from Vietnam to the UK in 2013 for the purposes of forced labour.
Despite the charges relating to activity linked to being trafficked into the country, Mr Q’s legal advice overlooked that he could have applied a defence under section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act.
This is the latest CCRC referral related to miscarriages of justice against victims of human trafficking, following previous cases involving a Vietnamese teenager working on a cannabis farm in Leicester and a child who was charged with a range of offences stemming from him being trafficked.
Helen Pitcher OBE, Chairman of CCRC said:
“We are seeing too many cases where victims of human trafficking go on to become victims of a miscarriage of justice.
“The law is quite clear that nobody should face charges for actions directly linked to being a victim of modern slavery.
“We urge any trafficking victims who feel they have received an unjust conviction to contact us and we will investigate their case.”
Mr Q was represented in his application to the CCRC by Philippa Southwell of Southwell & Partners.
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: email@example.com.
Notes to 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 monarch 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 @ccrcupdate and Instagram the_ccrc.