Category Archives: CCRC
A man convicted of a Birmingham robbery has won a 28-year fight for justice after appeal judges were told of doubts about the credibility of the principal police witness.
The Court of Appeal said Martin Foran’s 1985 convictions for robbery and conspiracy to rob were unsafe and had to be quashed.
Mr Foran (above) had been given an eight-year jail term at Birmingham Crown Court after a Birmingham publican was attacked at his home.
He had twice unsuccessfully mounted appeals. But three judges upheld his latest challenge after the Criminal Cases Review Commission had presented new information at a hearing in London.
Judges were told that Mr Foran had always denied making a confession when questioned by police – and they said that issue was at the centre of the appeal.
Lord Justice Leveson, who headed the appeal panel, said Mr Foran had been interviewed by a detective who had been a member of a “now notorious” police unit.
“Twice since the convictions, appeals against the convictions have been unsuccessfully mounted to this court,” said the judge.
“On this, third, occasion, the Criminal Cases Review Commission has concluded that there is a real possibility that the convictions will not be upheld in the light of information not previously considered regarding the credibility of the principal police witness, Detective Inspector Paul Matthews, a member of the now notorious West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad, who interviewed the appellant.”
He added: “A substantial number of convictions arising from investigations conducted by the squad have been quashed as a result of concerns regarding the working practices adopted by officers there.”
Lord Justice Leveson said “malpractice subsequently identified” in connection with the squad – which no longer exists – included “physical abuse of prisoners, fabrication of admissions, planting of evidence and mishandling of informants”.
The judge continued: “Detective Inspector Matthews has been identified in a number of cases of such malpractice and, in particular, has been associated with the fabrication of confessions.”
He went on: “Once the reliability of the police evidence is called into serious question … we have no doubt that this conviction cannot be regarded as safe.”
Killer Jeremy Bamber’s latest legal action in his long-running battle to overturn his convictions for murdering five relatives 27 years ago was thrown out by High Court judges today.
Bamber, 51, wanted to challenge a refusal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal to be looked at again.
Today’s hearing followed the rejection by a single judge, who studied the case papers in private, of Bamber’s application for permission to seek judicial review of the CCRC’s decision.
His renewed application was refused today by Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, and Mr Justice Globe.
Sir John, announcing the decision of the court, said that having looked at the approach taken by the CCRC in the case he could not see “any way” in which a challenge could be made to the decision reached.
Sir John said: “It seems to me that a challenge is impossible to mount.”
Bamber, who is serving a whole-life term for the 1985 killings, has always protested his innocence and claims his schizophrenic sister, Sheila Caffell, shot her family before turning the gun on herself in a remote Essex farmhouse.
Announcing its decision in April, the CCRC said that, despite a lengthy and complex investigation, it “has not identified any evidence or legal argument that it considers capable of raising a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the convictions”.
:: Bamber and two other murderers are involved in a European court battle against their “whole-life” prison terms – which give prisoners no chance of release.
Lawyers are urging judges in Strasbourg to rule that UK law allowing the most dangerous offenders to be kept behind bars until they die breaches their human rights.
Jeremy Bamber has lost the first stage of his latest legal move over his convictions for murdering five relatives more than 25 years ago.
A High Court judge in London has rejected his application for permission for a judicial review of a decision not to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal for the safety of his convictions to be looked at again.
The decision not to refer his case was made earlier this year by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), an independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.
A spokeswoman for the Judicial Office confirmed today that a single judge, considering the case on the papers, had turned down Bamber’s judicial review application.
It is still open to Bamber to seek to renew his application before the full court.
Bamber, who is serving a whole life term for the 1985 killings, has always protested his innocence and claims his schizophrenic sister Sheila Caffell shot her family before turning the gun on herself in a remote Essex farmhouse.
When announcing its decision in April the CCRC said that despite a lengthy and complex investigation, it “has not identified any evidence or legal argument that it considers capable of raising a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the convictions”.
Mark Leech, editor of the national prisoners newspaper Converse said: “This is one of those notorious cases which will not go away, there is something deeply troubling about the case and one day I am convinced we will come to see this, and other such cases like that of Michael Stone, as terrible miscarriages of justice.”
Jeremy Bamber’s convictions for murdering five of his relatives more than 25 years ago will not be referred to the Court of Appeal, officials said today.
The notorious inmate, serving a whole life term for the 1985 killings, has always protested his innocence and claims his schizophrenic sister Sheila Caffell shot her family before turning the gun on herself in a remote Essex farmhouse.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission said that despite a lengthy and complex investigation, it “has not identified any evidence or legal argument that it considers capable of raising a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the convictions”.
The Commission said this was its final decision in its longest-running case.
Giving its reasons in a 109-page statement, it said: “Matters of pure speculation or unsubstantiated allegation constitute neither new evidence nor new argument capable of giving rise to a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash a conviction.
“Neither can such a real possibility arise from the accumulation of multiple unsubstantiated allegations.
“The Commission is satisfied that nothing in the submissions made by and on behalf of Mr Bamber or any issues raised in the recent documentary can, either individually or cumulatively, give rise to a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would find any of Mr Bamber’s convictions to be unsafe.”
Mr Bamber was told of the decision in prison today, the Commission confirmed.
A spokesman added: “This is a final decision and brings to a close the Commission’s current longest running case.
“The Commission has given due consideration to all the submissions made, old and new, before making a final decision on whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.”
Bamber, 51, who is being held in Full Sutton prison in York, has been behind bars for 25 years for shooting his wealthy adopted parents, June and Neville, his sister Ms Caffell and her six-year-old twin sons Daniel and Nicholas at their farmhouse in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, Essex, on August 7, 1985.
He was given a whole life tariff after being convicted of the murders in October 1986.
In 2009 Bamber lost a Court of Appeal challenge against the order that he must die behind bars. He has twice lost appeals against conviction.
Bamber’s lawyer Simon McKay said his client was “very disappointed” and considering applying for a judicial review of the Commission’s decision.
“He is obviously very disappointed but remains determined to carry on the fight to clear his name,” Mr McKay said.
“In my view the Commission have not applied the proper test for determining whether a case should be referred back to the Court of Appeal.
“To be clear: four independent and supremely qualified experts provided opinions that fundamentally undermined the Crown case against Mr Bamber and the safety of the convictions.
“The evidence was credible, inherently believable and gave rise to cogent admissible grounds of appeal that may have affected the jury’s verdict.
“This is sufficient for the case to be referred back: whether the conviction is in fact subsequently quashed is a matter for the Court of Appeal. The Commission may have usurped the court’s function.”
He went on: “I will now be considering a judicial review of the Commission’s decision.
“In the final analysis, whatever the notoriety that surrounds this particular case, whatever the public perception, the law applies equally to Jeremy Bamber as it does to all of us.
“The fight to clear his name will endure until justice prevails.”
In a statement issued by Bamber’s supporters, the convicted killer said: “I shall continue to campaign to prove my innocence in every way I can.
“I am very shocked and extremely disappointed.
“It is illogical that the fresh evidence presented to them regarding the sound moderator has not persuaded the commissioners that this material ‘may have’ affected the jury’s decision had they been presented with it at trial.”
Mark Leech, editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said it was ‘deeply disappointing’
Mr Leech said: “I have followed this case for nigh on 20 years and there is something deeply troubling about it, it is one of those cases, like the Guldford Four and Birmingham Six which will not go away – it is deeply disappointing that the CCRc have rejected the aplication to refer to the Court of Appeal.
“However I am confident it will be quashed at the end of the day – the CCRC just needs to be or courageous.”