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 THOMAS ROSS YOUNG

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Registration date : 2008-09-03

PostSubject: THOMAS ROSS YOUNG   Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:30 pm

14 November 2007
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (“the Commission”) has referred the
case of Thomas Ross Young to the High Court of Justiciary.
As a result of the Commission’s decision, Mr Young is entitled to an appeal against his
conviction for the murder of Frances Barker, who was last seen alive in the early hours of 11
June 1977 and whose body was found in undergrowth near the service road leading to
Inchneuk Farm, Glenboig, on 27 June 1977.
In accordance with the Commission’s statutory obligations, a statement of reasons for its
decision has been sent to the High Court, Mr Young, his solicitor and Crown Office. The
Commission has no power under its founding statute to make copies of its statements of
reasons available to the public. However, given the interest in this case, the Commission has
decided to provide a fuller news release than normal. Accordingly, brief summaries of the
background of the case and the Commission’s reasons for referral are given below.
1.0 Background
1.1 On 25 October 1977, at the High Court at Glasgow, before Lord McDonald and a jury,
Mr Young was convicted of the murder of Frances Barker. He was sentenced to life
imprisonment.
1.2 On 20 September 2005, as part of the Operation Trinity investigation – a joint
investigation by Strathclyde Police and Lothian and Border Police into the murders of
six young women, including that of Frances Barker, between 11 June 1977 and 2
December 1977 – officers from Strathclyde Police interviewed Mr Young about the
murder of Frances Barker. It was that action by the police which prompted Mr Young
to lodge an application with the Commission.
2.0 Evidence at the Trial
2.1 The Commission considers that sufficient evidence was led at the trial to entitle the
jury to reach the verdict that Mr Young was guilty of the murder of Frances Barker.
3.0 Reasons for Referral
3.1 On 12 March 2007, Crown Office forwarded to the Commission a copy of the report
Strathclyde Police had sent to Crown Office in respect of the Operation Trinity
investigation.
3.2 The Operation Trinity report has three appendices which, in the Commission’s view,
are relevant to the question of whether there may have been a miscarriage of justice in
Mr Young’s case: a report by two forensic pathologists at the University of Glasgow; a
report by the Behavioural Analysis Unit at the FBI; and a report in which data relating
to all homicides of female victims between 1968 and 2004 have been collated. The
three appendices, when read together, indicate that the same person or persons
committed the murders of the six young women, including that of Frances Barker. Mr
Young was in custody at the time of the murders of the five women other than Frances
Barker. In addition, there is DNA evidence linking two other men with two of the
murdered women.
3.3 The Commission considers that the Operation Trinity report and its appendices must
be regarded as additional evidence which, if it had been available at Mr Young’s trial,
is likely to have had a material bearing on, or a material part to play in, the jury’s
determination of the critical issue at the trial. Therefore, although the Commission
recognises that there remains a body of evidence implicating Mr Young in the murder
of Miss Barker, and notes that the analysis in the Operation Trinity report and its
appendices does not exclude his presence at the scene of her murder, the Commission
has decided that, in exercise of its statutory powers, Mr Young’s case should be
referred to the High Court for determination.
4.0 Notes for Editors
4.1 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 194 A to L of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act
1995, as inserted by section 25 of the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Act 1997, the
Commission can 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.
4.2 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, seven Legal Officers and administrative support staff.
4.3 When a case is referred, the Commission issues a press release to disclose the fact that
the case has been referred, with general details relating to the case. However, as the
Commission operates under strict statutory non-disclosure provisions, it is not possible
for the Commission to disclose any further information about such cases. The
Commission will not release any information regarding cases in which no referral has
been made or in respect of cases under review.
4.4 For any further general information about the Commission, please contact Mr Chris
Reddick, Director of Corporate Services, SCCRC, 5th Floor, Portland House, 17
Renfield Street, Glasgow; telephone: 0141 270 7030; e-mail: creddick@sccrc.org.uk;
or visit the Commission’s website at www.sccrc.org.uk
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