Criminal Cases Review Commission
Commission refers the case of George Griffiths – a third Oval Four conviction
The CCRC has referred the conviction of George Griffiths to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Griffiths was convicted along with three other men at the Old Bailey on 8th November 1972. All four were convicted of assaulting a police officer and attempted theft. Mr Christie was also convicted of the theft of a police woman’s handbag. The four men became known as the Oval Four.
On 14th October, the CCRC referred the convictions of two of the Oval Four co-defendants, Mr Winston Trew and Mr Sterling Christie, to the Court of Appeal on the basis of the misconduct of an officer involved in the case. More details of the case and the reasons for the CCRC referral are set out here.
Mr Griffiths, who has lived abroad for a number of years, learned through media coverage of the Commission’s referral of his co-defendants and contacted the CCRC through journalist Duncan Campbell who wrote about the case for The Guardian newspaper.
The Commission has decided to refer Mr Griffiths’ case for appeal because it believes there is a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash his conviction. As in the cases of his co-defendants, the referral is made on the basis of new evidence and arguments concerning the integrity of DS Ridgewell including:
- the conviction of DS Ridgewell in 1978.
- the successful appeal of Mr Simmons (R v Simmons  EWCA Crim 114) on a referral by the CCRC and observations of the Lord Chief Justice in that judgment.
- the significance of judicial comment and acquittals in three other London Underground cases investigated by DS Ridgewell: R v Freeman, Gordon, Morgan and Morris (the ‘Waterloo 4’) at Southwark Juvenile Court in April 1972; R v Chikuri and Swelah (the ‘Tottenham Court Road 2’) at the Central Criminal Court in April 1973; and R v Mullins, Davison, De Souza, Green, Harriott and Johnson (the ‘Stockwell 6’) at the Central Criminal Court in September 1972.
- The quashing of the conviction of Mr Hasan (R v Hasan, Peterkin, Campbell and Ogunshola, 13 January 1978) which raised concerns about the credibility of DS Ridgewell.
Mr Griffiths was not legally represented during his application to the CCRC.
This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 07947 355231 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Editors
- The Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
- There are currently 13 Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
- The Commission usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.
- The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
- If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk The Commission can be found on Twitter using @ccrcupdate
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