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Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon denied compensation

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image captionSam Hallam served more than seven years for murder before his conviction was ruled "unsafe"

Two men who served long sentences before their convictions were overturned have lost High Court actions in their fight for compensation.

Sam Hallam, from London, served more than seven years for murder, while Victor Nealon, from Worcestershire, served 17 years for attempted rape.

Both men were set free after appeal judges ruled that fresh evidence made their convictions unsafe.

But judges, sitting in London, dismissed their compensation cases.

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image captionVictor Nealon was freed in December 2013 as a result of new DNA evidence

Victor Nealon's lawyer said the judgment was "wrong legally and morally", while lawyers for both men confirmed they would appeal.

Paul May, chair of the Sam Hallam Defence Campaign, said: "This is a sad day for justice and the presumption of innocence.

"The callous refusal of the Ministry of Justice to compensate this innocent man is truly shameful."

The pair asked two judges to rule that UK law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights because it wrongly restricts compensation in miscarriage of justice cases.

Their judicial review challenges were the first to be brought against the coalition government's decision in 2014 to narrow eligibility for an award.

A person who has been wrongfully convicted can now only get a payout if it is proved "beyond reasonable doubt" they had not committed the offence.

Sam Hallam was jailed in 2005 for life with a minimum term of 12 years in connection with the murder of Essayas Kassahun in 2004.

But in May 2012, appeal judges decided the conviction was unsafe.

DNA evidence

They ruled that new evidence, in the form of timed and dated mobile phone photographs, dramatically undermined accusations that Mr Hallam had deliberately concocted a false alibi.

But the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) rejected his application for compensation for miscarriage of justice in August 2014 on the grounds that the phone evidence had been partly, if not wholly, attributable to Mr Hallam himself.

The MoJ said the new evidence did not show "beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Hallam did not commit the offence".

Victor Nealon served 17 years of a life sentence for the attempted rape of a woman in Redditch in 1996.

His conviction was quashed in 2013 after a DNA test pointed to "an unknown male" - not Nealon - as being the likely assailant.

But in June 2014, the Ministry of Justice rejected his application on the grounds that the DNA analysis "did not show beyond reasonable doubt that the claimant did not commit the offence".

Lord Justice Burnett and Mrs Justice Thirlwall dismissed their compensation cases.

More on this story

  • Sam Hallam murder conviction quashed by Court of Appeal