The Criminal Case Review Commission has referred the case of Ali Tahery to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Tahery was tried at Blackfriars Crown Court in April 2005 on charges of wounding with intent and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He pleaded not guilty to the wounding but was convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to perverting the court of justice and received a concurrent sentence of 15 months' imprisonment for that offence.
On 24 January 2006, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Tahery's appeal against his wounding conviction but allowed his appeal against sentence and reduced that sentence to seven years' imprisonment.
Mr Tahery applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) alleging that the judge's decision to allow a statement to be read from an absent witness violated his rights under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). On 20 January 2009 the Fourth Section of the ECtHR ruled that the reading of the statement to the jury had violated Mr Tahery's rights under Article 6(1) and 6(3) of the ECHR.
In the case of R v Horncastle and Ors  UKSC 14 the Supreme Court considered and responded to the decision of the Fourth Section in Mr Tahery's case and in the linked case of Imad Al-Khawaja. The Supreme Court expressed its disagreement with some of the reasoning underlying the decisions of the Fourth Section in those cases.
The decisions of the Fourth Section were then referred to the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR and on 15th December 2011 the Grand Chamber gave its judgment. Although the Grand Chamber departed from some of the reasoning of the Fourth Section, it unanimously held that Mr Tahery's Article 6 rights had been violated by the judge's decision to allow the statement to be read to the jury.
Mr Tahery first applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 2009 when the Commission concluded that it was unable to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal. In April 2012, following the Grand Chamber's judgment of 15th December 2011, Mr Tahery applied again to the Commission.
The Commission has decided to refer Mr Tahery's conviction back to the Court of Appeal on the basis that the judgments of the Supreme Court and of the Grand Chamber raise a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will find that Mr Tahery's conviction is unsafe and should be quashed.
Mr Tahery is represented by Mr Martyn Fisher, Birds Solicitors, Wandsworth, London, SW18 2PT.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906.
Notes to editors:
- The Criminal Cases Review 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 currently ten 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 receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Our current rates of referral are around 4%, which means around one in 25 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.