Criminal Cases Review Commission
Commission statement on the non-referral of the convictions of Jonathan Beere, Scott Birtwistle, Jamie Green, Daniel Payne and Zoran Dresic
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has concluded it cannot refer for appeal the drug smuggling convictions of Jonathan Beere, Scott Birtwistle, Jamie Green, Daniel Payne and Zoran Dresic.
The men were tried together at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court on charges of conspiring to import 255 kilogrammes of cocaine.
On 2 June 2011 all five were convicted of the conspiracy by a majority verdict of 11 to one. Jonathan Beere, Jamie Green and Zoran Dresic were sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment. Daniel Payne was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment and Scott Birtwistle to 14 years’ detention in a Young Offender Institution.
Mr Green and tried to appeal against sentence and conviction but were unsuccessful. Mr Dresic tried to appeal but his grounds were ineffective. Mr Birtwistle tried to appeal against his conviction but was unsuccessful. Mr Beere and Mr Payne tried unsuccessfully to appeal against their sentences.
This means that, notwithstanding the Commission’s decision in this case, Mr Beere, Mr Dresic and Mr Payne can still approach the Court of Appeal to seek leave to appeal against their convictions and Mr Birtwistle can still seek leave to appeal against his sentence.
All five men applied to the CCRC at various points during 2014 and 2015. All were represented by the Centre for Criminal Appeals.
After the initial applications, their representatives made additional submissions to the Commission on 26 separate occasions during the review (not including submissions made following the provisional decision not to refer the case which was made in February 2017).
Following a lengthy and detailed investigation into the cases which considered all of the submissions received and a number of other issues, the CCRC has not identified any new evidence or legal argument that it considers capable of raising a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the convictions. For that reason the convictions cannot be referred for appeal. The decision not to refer the case was taken by a single Commissioner
The Commission’s analysis of the case and its reasons for the decision are set out in detail in a 78-page document called a Statement of Reasons. That document was sent to the Centre for Criminal Appeals on 22 November 2017.
Statutory restrictions on disclosure mean that the Commission cannot make its Statement of Reasons public. There are no such restrictions on the men or their representatives. Indeed the CCRC invites them to consider publishing the document (on the Centre for Criminal Appeals website), or making it available on request, in order that anyone following the case can understand the CCRC’s review and the reasons for the decision not to refer these convictions for appeal.
A number of issues relating to the case and the CCRC’s review have already been discussed in public and in the media.
Listed in the table below are a number of the issues in the case along with the numbers of the paragraphs where are discussed in the Statement of Reasons.
A summary of the principal reasons why the CCRC is unable to refer the case appears at points (i) to (viii) of paragraph 192 of the Statement of Reasons.
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