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 Convicted robber wins appeal over his trial’s ‘failures’

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PostSubject: Convicted robber wins appeal over his trial’s ‘failures’   Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:22 pm

A convicted robber has had his case referred to the High Court of Appeal because of failures in the collection and disclosure of evidence at his trial.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case of James Kinsella, convicted of holding a disabled pensioner at knifepoint during a post office raid, over concerns that it may have been a miscarriage of justice.

Kinsella was jailed for nine-and-a-half years at the High Court in Edinburgh in July 2005. He received four years for holding a knife to the neck of sub-postmaster Frances Reid, then aged 60, as he demanded cash at an office in Brechin, Angus, in April 2004, and four-and-a-half years for the serious assault of a man in a nearby pub a week later.

Kinsella, then 33, pled guilty to the serious assault but denied the attempted robbery, lodging a special defence of alibi stating that he was in Dundee at the time of the alleged offence.

The commission referred Kinsella's conviction on the assault and attempted robbery charge to the appeal court on three grounds: that his legal representative failed to prepare his defence adequately; Tayside Police failed to investigate his defence of alibi; and that there were shortcomings in his identification process. The commission said it was referring Kinsella's case to the High Court of Appeal because of the failure of his lawyers to recover certain evidence and material in support of his special defence of alibi, which deprived him of a fair trial and may have led to a miscarriage of justice.

The commission also considered Tayside Police failed to fully investigate his alibi and the same evidence and materials. The commission also said the Crown did not disclose certain information to the defence in relation to Kinsella which was in its control or the control of Tayside Police.

Since the commission's inception in 1999 to review alleged miscarriages of justice in Scottish convictions, the matter of failure to disclose evidence has been a theme within referrals to the High Court of Appeal.

These include Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who was granted fresh leave to appeal last year by the commission.

The previous year Stuart Gair was cleared of murdering a man in Glasgow after protesting his innocence for 17 years.

Lord Abernethy, the judge, said a failure to disclose witness statements to his lawyers deprived the defence of a "powerful argument" on identification.
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