14 December 2020
The CCRC has referred for appeal the convictions of two members of the “Stockwell Six” who were tried together in 1972 on the evidence of a now discredited police officer.
The CCRC is keen to contact the remaining four co-defendants from the Stockwell Six case because it believes it may also be able to send further convictions for appeal.
Courtney Harriot and Paul Green were part of a group of six young men (who later became known as the Stockwell Six) who were charged with assault with intent to rob on a train on the London Underground in 1972.
The victim of the alleged attempted robbery was a police officer in plain clothes – Detective Sergeant Derek Ridgewell. At the time DS Ridgewell led a team of officers from the British Transport Police called the “anti-mugging squad” who worked on the London Underground.
The six men stood trial at the Old Bailey in September 1972. All pleaded not guilty, but Mr Green was convicted of assault with intent to rob and sent to Borstal (youth detention centre), and Mr Harriot was convicted of assault with intent to rob, and unlawful possession of an offensive weapon, and sentenced to a total of three years in prison.
Their co-defendants, Cleveland Davison, Texo Joseph Johnson, Ronald De’Souza were convicted of related offences; Everet Mullins was acquitted. The CCRC is very interested to hear from Messrs Davison, Johnson, De’Souza and Mullins.
The CCRC began its review of the current cases after we referred two other cases involving DS Ridgewell; those were the cases of Stephen Simmons and the Oval Four. In both those cases the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions. Details of those cases, and of the issues relating to DS Ridgewell, can be seen a the links below.
The CCRC attempted to contact all of the Stockwell Six co-defendants, and received responses from Mr Green and Mr Harriot who were invited to make their applications to the CCRC.
Having investigated their convictions, the CCRC has concluded there is new evidence and new argument that gives rise to a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will now quash those convictions.
The real possibility arises from:
- New evidence relating to the conviction of DS Ridgewell for conspiracy to steal whilst working as an officer for British Transport Police in 1978
- Recent successful appeals in the earlier CCRC referrals of Stephen Simmons in (R v Simmons  EWCA Crim 114) and Winston Trew et al, known as the Oval 4, (R v Trew, Christie and Griffiths  EWCA Crim 2474).
CCRC Commissioner David Brown was one of the Commissioners who made the decision to refer the convictions of Mr Harriot and Mr Green for appeal. He said:
“Its really good that we have been able to send wo more cases for appeal involving DS Ridgewell. It is a challenge to investigate cases as old as this because most of the information from the time has been destroyed and that doesn’t leave much to go on. In this case though, the earlier CCRC referrals involving Ridgewell’s misconduct have helped pave the way.
“What we really want now is for the other Stockwell Six co-defendants to contact us so we can look at their cases and hopefully send their convictions for appeal as well. We would also be interested to hear from anyone else who was convicted in a case where DS Ridgewell was involved.”
The Stockwell Six co-defendants, or anyone else involved in a case where DS Ridgewell played a role, can contact the CCRC on 0121 233 1473 or on 0121 232 0906.
The CCRC became aware of the activities of DS Ridgewell when it reviewed the cases of Stephen Simmons, and, consequently, the cases of the Oval Four. Mr Simmons’ conviction was referred by the CCRC in August 2017 and his conviction was quashed in January 2018. Details can be seen here: CCRC statement on the quashing of Stephen Simmons’ conviction | Criminal Cases Review Commission
The cases of the Oval Four – Winston Trew et al – were referred for appeal by the CCRC and their convictions quashed during 2019 and 2020. Details of these cases, including information about the history and background of DS Ridgwell, can be found here: Press releases | Criminal Cases Review Commission (ccrc.gov.uk)
As a result of these cases, British Transport Police is conducting a review of the activities of DS Ridgewell during his time with the force.
Neither Mr Harriot nor Mr Green were legally represented in their applications to the CCRC.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or 07947 355 231 or e-mail email@example.com
Notes for editors
- 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.
- There are currently nine 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 1,400 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 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.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate