Suffolk

Suffolk murder case Supreme Court bid fails

Simon and Stephanie Hall
Image caption Hall's wife Stephanie has been fighting to clear his name

A Suffolk man who last month failed in his appeal against his conviction for murder has now been told his case will not be referred to the Supreme Court.

Simon Hall, 33, of Ipswich, was jailed for life in 2003 for stabbing Joan Albert, and lost an appeal in January.

Lord Justice Pitchford said there was no point of law to allow a new appeal.

Commenting on the case Hall's solicitor, Correna Platt, said she was convinced the new evidence should have gone before a jury.

Mrs Albert, 79, was murdered at her home in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, in December 2001.

Ms Platt had argued the point of law that as the Court of Appeal admitted there was fresh evidence, it should be up to a jury to decide whether it proved Hall's innocence or guilt.

'Fresh evidence'

But Lord Justice Pitchford, who had dismissed Hall's conviction appeal along with Mrs Justice Dobbs and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, did not accept the argument.

At his appeal, the three judges were urged to overturn the conviction as "unsafe" in the light of "fresh" scientific evidence relating to fibres.

But they ruled on 14 January: "We have no reason to doubt the safety of the jury's verdict and the appeal is dismissed."

Lord Justice Pitchford, refusing leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, said: "It is always a matter for the court to judge whether the conviction is safe in the circumstances of the particular case and the issues which arise in it.

"There was, the jury accepted, extremely strong evidence to connect the appellant with fibres found upon the body of the deceased."

The two-fold effect of the fresh evidence, said the judges, was that expert evidence given at trial was "incomplete and in some respects wrong".

But the judges added that "the fresh evidence heard on appeal confirmed the safety of the conviction".

Ms Platt said: "Today the Court of Appeal has refused to certify this point of law which means there are no other avenues for Simon to prove his innocence.

"Simon and his family were devastated by the outcome of the hearing in January and today's decision is a fresh blow to their hopes of winning his freedom.

"We remain of the opinion that the right and proper outcome would have been for the case, including the new evidence, to have been sent back to be considered by a jury."

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