Criminal Cases Review Commission
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Concerns over trial arraignment leads to case being referred by the CCRC

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has referred a conviction to the Court of Appeal due to concerns around the timing of a retrial.

A defendant who is being retried must be arraigned (asked to enter their pleas) within two months of their original conviction being quashed by the Court of Appeal, unless an application is granted to extend the time period.

Stuart Layden successfully appealed against a murder conviction on 19 March 2015. He was rearraigned for a new trial on 28 September 2015, and was again found guilty on 17 May 2016. This was considerably outside the maximum two month time limit between a conviction being overturned and the defendant being arraigned for a new trial.

Mr Layden’s application to the CCRC was received on 5 May 2022 and a review of his case has found there is a real possibility the Court of Appeal will find that the arraignment was unlawful, the trial proceedings were invalid and Mr Layden’s conviction is unsafe.

This press release was issued by the Communications Team, Criminal Cases Review Commission. They can be contacted by phone on: 0121 232 0900 or by email:     

Notes to Editors 

  1. The CCRC 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. 
  2. There are currently 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice. 
  3. The CCRC 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. 
  4. The CCRC 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”. 
  5. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair. 
  6. More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate and Instagram the_ccrc 
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