Miscarriages of JusticeUK

CCRC Jason Garland Referral - Dismissed Despite CPS Admitting Severe Non-Disclosure

Mr Garland appeared at St Albans Crown Court in 2007 charged with burglary, aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted on 20th December 2007 and sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment. The burglary occurred in July 2006 at the Harvester Public House, Croxley Green, Watford. The landlord and landlady of the pub were attacked with knives and badly injured during the burglary. Evidence linking another man, Steven Ruffolo, to the burglary and attack led to his arrest a week after the incident. Mr Ruffolo was convicted in January 2007. Prior to sentence, he named Jason Garland as his accomplice. Mr Garland denied any involvement in the offence and relied on alibi evidence provided by his girlfriend.

In 2010 Mr Garland tried unsuccessfully to appeal against his conviction. Later that year he applied to the CCRC for a review of his conviction. Having conducted a detailed review of the case the CVRC decided to refer Mr Garland’s convictions to the Court of Appeal. The referral was made on the basis that the deliberate non-disclosure of information available to the police and the Crown, which could have affected the outcome of Mr Garland’s trial, raises a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would conclude that Mr Garland’s convictions are unsafe. The undisclosed information uncovered by the Commission and on which the referral was based was of a sensitive nature. It was therefore provided to the Court of Appeal and to the Crown Prosecution Service in a confidential annex to the Commission’s Statement of Reasons.

Appeal decision was handed down on Monday 21st November. Mr. Duncan Penny QC, who appeared in this appeal on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), accepted that the material which has now been disclosed should have been disclosed to the defence at the time of appellant's trial. In our view (The Judges) this concession was clearly correct. Mr Penny denied that the material was withheld in bad faith. And submitted that the conviction was nonetheless safe having regard to all of the evidence in the case.

Justices, Jones, Hickinbottom, and Fraser, agreed with him and with their usual arrogance, dismissed the appeal. There is no doubt in the mind of MOJUK, that where material has been proven to have been concealed, whether by mistake or deliberately as in this case. The conviction must be quashed and a retrial before a jury, not left to three judges.

Full transcript of the appeal: http://tinyurl.com/z4fcwcu

CCRC press release on the referral: http://tinyurl.com/p5k8w7g