The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the conviction of Mr Y to the Court of Appeal.
He was convicted in 2006 of the rape and indecent assault of his step-daughter. Mr Y, who was of previous good character, denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Y sought to appeal to the Court of Appeal, but was refused permission to appeal in April 2008. He applied to the Commission in September 2012.
After detailed consideration of the arguments in this case, the Commission has concluded that it is arguable that the trial judge made important errors in the legal directions which he gave to the jury when summing-up the case at the end of the trial.
In particular, it is arguable that the judge gave inadequate guidance as to the relevance of evidence that, a number of years before her complaint to the police, the complainant had told a relative that she had been sexually abused by Mr Y. In addition, it is arguable that the judge gave inadequate guidance as to the relevance of the previous good character of Mr Y.
The Commission concludes that these arguments in relation to the trial judge’s summing-up give rise to a real possibility that the conviction will be quashed. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
This press release was issued by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. For further enquires call 0121 233 1473 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- The 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 currently 12 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 usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Typically, around 3.5%, or one in 29, 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.