NEWS

Sam Hallam Appeal: Convicted Murderer To Hear Verdict After Insisting Innocence

17/05/2012 07:09

Appeal judges will give their ruling today in the case of a young man who has spent more than seven years behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit.

Sam Hallam, now 24, of Hoxton, east London, was dramatically released on bail yesterday after prosecutors announced they were not opposing his conviction challenge.

Lady Justice Hallett, Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Spencer, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London, granted him bail pending the delivery of their ruling at noon today - when it is expected they will quash his conviction.

Hallam was 18 when he was convicted at the Old Bailey in October 2005 of the murder of trainee chef Essayas Kassahun, 21, who died after being attacked by a group of youths on the St Luke's estate in Clerkenwell, London, in October 2004.

Since his conviction, his family and friends have mounted a high-profile campaign insisting he is innocent.

His case came before the appeal judges after it was referred to the court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

The judges were told yesterday that Mr Hallam was the victim of a "serious miscarriage of justice".

His QC Henry Blaxland said that the miscarriage of justice was brought about by a combination of factors - including failure by the police to properly investigate Mr Hallam's alibi and by non-disclosure of material by the prosecution that "could have supported his case".

Summarising the grounds of challenge, he said: "It is our case that this appellant Sam Hallam - and I put it boldly - has been the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice brought about by a combination of manifestly unreliable identification evidence, the apparent failure of his own alibi, failure by police properly to investigate his alibi and non-disclosure by the prosecution of material that could have supported his case."

Hallam was released from the cells at the Royal Courts of Justice to be met by emotional family members and dozens of supporters.

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