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 Dominic Ferrie

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Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: Dominic Ferrie   Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:24 pm

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (‘the Commission’) has
referred the case of Dominic Ferrie 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. Ferrie 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 6 August 2001, at the High Court at Glasgow, Mr Ferrie appeared on an
indictment which narrated that on 30 April 2001, at a flat in Wishaw, he and
Stewart Lees Quinn, while acting with Stephen Michael Nisbet, assaulted David
Hogg James, repeatedly punched him on the head and body, repeatedly struck
him on the head and body with bottles and other blunt and sharp instruments,
burnt his body with a hot iron, dragged him across the floor, forcibly ejected him
from a first floor window into the rear garden of the premises, causing him to strike
his head and body against the ground, repeatedly kicked and stamped on his
head and body, struck him over the head and body with pieces of slabbing, and
thereby murdered him. Mr Ferrie and his co-accused were also charged with
attempting to defeat the ends of justice in relation to a connected matter.
1.2 On 21 August 2001, the jury, by a majority verdict, found Mr Ferrie guilty of
murder, under deletion of the reference to the alleged forcible ejection of the
deceased from the window. Their verdict on the charge of attempting to defeat the
ends of justice was not proven, again by a majority. Mr Ferrie’s co-accused, Mr
Quinn, was convicted of both charges. Mr Ferrie was sentenced to life
imprisonment with a punishment part of 14 years.
1.3 Stephen Michael Nisbet was later apprehended and convicted of the murder
in separate proceedings.
1.4 Messrs Ferrie, Quinn and Nisbet’s appeals against conviction were refused
by the High Court on 16 September 2005.
2.0 Evidence at the Trial
2
2.1 The main Crown witness said that he had seen Mr Ferrie taking part in an
assault on the deceased, which took place inside the flat. He went on to say that
Mr Nisbet had shouted: “Out the window with him [deceased].”
2.2 That witness’s account was corroborated by the discovery of Mr Ferrie’s
fingerprint on the outside of the bedroom window.
2.3 The deceased was discovered in the back garden of the house, outside the
bedroom window. The cause of death was established as blunt force trauma to
the head. A number of bloodstained pieces of paving slab were found in the
vicinity of his body.
3.0 Grounds that the Commission Rejected
3.1 The Commission considered and rejected submissions to the effect that the
applicant’s representation was defective and that, contrary to section 92 of the
Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, part of his trial took place outwith his
presence. A further ground challenging the reasonableness of the jury’s reliance
upon the evidence of the main witness, who was seriously intoxicated, was also
rejected.
4.0 Reasons for Referral
4.1 The Commission came to the conclusion that the case against Mr Ferrie was
sufficient, but only if it was accepted that the deceased was forcibly ejected from
the window. If this was not accepted, the Commission believes that there was no
evidence capable of linking Mr Ferrie with the fatal portion of the assault. With
reference to section 106(3)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, the
Commission takes the view that no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have
returned a verdict of guilty under deletion of the reference in the indictment to
forcible ejection. Accordingly, the Commission believes that a miscarriage of
justice may have occurred.
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.
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