A bit of a body blow: as some of you will be aware, at my retrial in 2007 (wow, 2007, 11 years ago), one of the jurors was a police intelligence officer who had undisclosed links to the prosecuting police force (Sussex Police); you may, quite rightly, think that this raises a number of questions regarding the fairness of my retrial; and if you don’t think this, well, either stupid or naive.
We used this point as a ground for appeal in the CCRC application which was rejected in 2013; however, since then a ‘police on the jury’ case was taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), deemed a breach of Article 6: right to a fair trial, and then subsequently had the conviction quashed in the Court of Appeal. Unfortunately, the advice we have got from our QC (the same one who worked on the case above), is that because we were not directly challenging evidence given by police officers this ground would be unlikely to succeed; however (and there is always a ‘however’),the ECtHR stated in the case above:
“… leaving aside the question whether the presence of a police officer on a jury could ever be compatible with art.6 …”
It seems to me that this is a question they want to answer, especially given that this is one of the few European countries who allow police officers on a jury; I’ve asked my solicitor to look at the possibility of taking this point to the ECtHR, while we still can.
On a more positive note: Lancaster University Miscarriages of Justice Clinic have obtained a number of helpful academic reports and, by extension, a number of experts who they will be contacting.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 25th April 2018