UK Government

Criminal Cases Review Commission (National): Commission refers the threats to kill conviction of Gordon Malloch to the Court of Appeal

Press Release   •   Feb 09, 2011 11:30 GMT

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred to the Court of Appeal Gordon Malloch's 1990 conviction for making threats to kill.

Mr Malloch was prosecuted at Calne Magistrates' Court in 1990 for making threats to kill. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and fined £200, bound over in the sum of £500 for two years and ordered to pay £105 in costs.

The charge arose following a dispute between Mr Malloch and the proprietor of a garage. The prosecution case rested on the evidence of the garage proprietor and one of his employees.

Mr Malloch appealed against his conviction but, following a rehearing of the case before a judge and magistrates at Swindon Crown Court, the appeal was dismissed and he was ordered to pay additional costs of £303.

Mr Malloch applied to the Commission for a review of his conviction in January 2010.

After losing his appeal in 1990 Mr Malloch made a complaint against the police and conducted his own investigation which involved tracing a witness who then admitted giving false evidence. The witness admitted perjury to the police but the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute him but, in correspondence with Mr Malloch's solicitor, indicated that they would not oppose an application by Mr Malloch to the Home Office for a free pardon1. In 1992 the Home Office refused Mr Malloch's application for a free pardon.

Later in life Mr Malloch realised that the conviction could have an impact on Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks if he needed to seek further work. In 2009, via his MP, he approached the Ministry of Justice seeking a free-pardon. The Ministry declined and advised Mr Malloch to apply to the Commission.

With only very limited correspondence to go on, the Commission investigated and with police help traced a retired officer who had been involved and confirmed that the witness had admitted perjury.

The Commission decided to refer the case because it considered that the admitted perjury gives rise to a real possibility that Crown Court may quash the conviction.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 633 1806 or press@ccrc.gov.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. The Commission receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Typically, around 4%, or one in 25, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

4. 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".

5. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.

1 The CCRC was not created until 1997 and the Home Office did not have the power to refer a summary conviction for a further appeal.

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