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 Andrew Charles Affleck

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Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Andrew Charles Affleck   Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:22 pm

NEWS RELEASE 11 August 2008
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘the Commission’) has
today referred the case of Andrew Charles Affleck to the High Court of
Justiciary.
In accordance with the Commission’s statutory obligations, a statement of
reasons for its decision has been sent to the High Court, Mr. Affleck and Crown
Office. The Commission has no power under its founding statute to make copies
of its statements of reasons available to the public. Brief summaries of the
background of the case, the evidence led at the trial, the grounds the Commission
rejected and the Commission’s reasons for referral are given below. These
summaries are for information purposes only and the content of this news release
should not be treated as forming part of the Commission’s statement of reasons.
1.0 Background
1.1 On 28 October 2003, at the High Court at Kilmarnock, Mr. Affleck appeared
on an indictment which narrated that on 2 March 2001 he, while acting with others
unknown, set fire to the house at 17 Sanderson Avenue, Irvine, occupied by
Diane Docherty, Ainsley MacDougall, Alexander Parker, Anna Teraysa Murray,
Carrie Marie Murray and Amanda Cooper; that the fire took effect thereon; that
Anna Teraysa Murray, Carrie Marie Murray and Amanda Cooper were so severely
injured that they died; that Diane Docherty, Ainsley MacDougall and Alexander
Parker were injured; and that he did thus murder Anna Teraysa Murray, Carrie
Marie Murray and Amanda Cooper, and attempt to murder Diane Docherty,
Ainsley MacDougall and Alexander Parker.
1.2 On 13 November 2003, the jury, by a majority verdict, found Mr. Affleck guilty
of the murders and attempted murders of the aforenamed persons. He was
sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 27 years’ imprisonment.
On appeal, however, the High Court reduced the punishment part to one of 23
years’ imprisonment.
2.0 Evidence at the Trial
2.1 There were two key witnesses in the case against Mr. Affleck.
2.2 An eyewitness gave evidence that he had seen Mr. Affleck, whom he knew,
running away from the locus on the morning of the fire. This eyewitness had given
four statements to the police. In his first police statement, he did not mention
having seen anyone at the locus before the fire. In his next two police statements,
he stated expressly that he had not seen anyone at the locus before the fire. In his
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fourth police statement, given on 26 July 2002, he said that he had seen Mr.
Affleck running away from the locus on the morning of the fire.
2.3 Another witness gave evidence that in or around March 2002 she asked Mr.
Affleck whether he had done it – meaning whether he had set fire to the locus –
and he said that he did do it.
3.0 Grounds the Commission Rejected
3.1 Mr. Affleck raised three broad grounds of review in relation to his conviction:
he had concerns about the conduct of the police in their treatment of various
Crown witnesses; he challenged the admissibility of certain evidence that the
Crown led at the trial; and he challenged the reasonableness of the trial court’s
verdict, based on the legal test set out in section 106(3)(b) of the Criminal
Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. The Commission rejected those grounds of
review.
4.0 Reasons for Referral
4.1 The Crown did not disclose to the defence that the eyewitness had been
charged with drugs offences on 16 July 2002 and on three further occasions in
2002. It was shortly after the first date that the eyewitness indicated to the police
for the first time that Mr. Affleck was involved in the crime.
4.2 The Commission considers that the failure by the Crown to provide the
defence with this information, in light of the decision of the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council in Holland v HMA 2005 SCCR 417, infringed Mr. Affleck’s rights
to a fair trial under article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and
may have led to a miscarriage of justice.
5.0 Notes for Editors
5.1 The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission was established as an
independent body on 1 April 1999 to review alleged miscarriages of justice in
Scottish convictions and/or sentences. Under section 194A–L of the Criminal
Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, as inserted by section 25 of the Crime and
Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997, the Commission may refer a case to the High
Court if it believes that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred and that it is in
the interests of justice that a reference should be made. Once the Commission
refers a case to the High Court, the case will proceed as a normal appeal.
5.2 The Commission operates with a Board of seven Members (one of whom is
the Chairperson), a Chief Executive, a Director of Corporate Services, two Senior
Legal Officers, six Legal Officers and administrative support staff.
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