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Court of appeal quashes convictions of five men for murder



This is an extract of an item which appears on the Guardian website on 8th Jan 2013

The court of appeal has quashed the murder convictions of five men convicted of a gangland killing after hearing of failures to reveal potentially crucial evidence to the defence.

The five men were serving life sentences totalling a minimum of 135 years for the 2002 murder of Kevin Nunes, who was taken to a country lane and shot dead in a drugs feud.

Concerns over the case led to four police chiefs being placed under criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The prosecution case was left so flawed after revelations about disclosure that the Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the convictions being overturned in court on Thursday, nor did they seek a retrial of the five men.

Richard Whittam QC told the court of appeal that the “CPS does not seek to uphold the convictions in this case, nor does it apply for any defendant to be retried”.

Lord Justice Hooper, Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Stadlen overturned the convictions after hearing of “failures” in disclosure of material to the defence relating to the key prosecution witness.

The quashing of the convictions follows an investigation by the criminal cases review commission into disclosure issues in the case. The CCRC delivered a 247-page report outlining their concerns to the court of appeal in mid-December.

Levi Walker, from Birmingham, Adam Joof, from Willenhall, West Midlands, Antonio Christie, from Great Bridge, West Midlands, Michael Osbourne and Owen Crooks, both from Wolverhampton, were found guilty of the crime at Leicester crown court in 2008.

They were convicted of the murder of Nunes, 20, who was found dead in a country road in Pattingham, Staffordshire, on 19 September 2002. (full article)