Criminal Cases Review Commission
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Evidence to suggest a case of human trafficking could see conviction overturned

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has referred a case to the Crown Court which involves potential human trafficking.  

Mr AL was arrested at a property in September 2019 and was convicted several days later for the production of cannabis. He was sentenced to six months in custody.  

Mr AL pleaded guilty to the offence but stated he had met an individual who offered him a place to stay and work. He said he stayed there because he was homeless and did not want any trouble. He later revealed that he had been threatened and beaten.  

The CCRC received an application from Mr AL’s representatives in April 2022 which included documents suggesting Mr AL had never been advised of a defence under s45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which resulted in him pleading guilty.  

S45 provides a complete defence for slavery or trafficking victims who commit an offence in specified circumstances.  

The CCRC now considers that the Crown Court may not uphold the conviction. 

  1. The CCRC has anonymised this press release on the basis that there are specific safeguarding concerns in respect of Mr AL.
  2. The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently investigating 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.      
  3. There are currently 10 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.  The Chairman, who is also a Commissioner, is not involved in the casework decision-making process.         
  4. 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.      
  5. 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”.      
  6. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.      
  7. 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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