Northern Ireland

Pair's Bournemouth snooker club robbery appeal refused

Two men from NI, who were living in Bournemouth, have lost an appeal against their convictions for plotting to rob a snooker club in the town.

William Grogan, 49, of Belle Vue Gardens and Alexander Calderwood, 48, of Christchurch, were convicted of conspiracy to rob in July 2009.

Grogan was sentenced to 15 years and Calderwood to seven.

Judges at the Criminal Appeal Court in London said they were satisfied that the original convictions were safe.

Two other men carried out the robbery, during which a shot was fired into the air and a blind man was struck with a claw hammer.

£4,300 was stolen during the raid.

Grogan and Caldwerwood were appealing both their convictions and their sentences.

One of the appeal judges, Lord Justice Elias, told the court that Grogan masterminded the plot, organising it from a pub of which he was the landlord and which was in the same road as the snooker club.

Calderwood and the other two men also lived in flats at the pub.

CCTV evidence from cameras at the pub formed a large part of the prosecution's evidence that Grogan and Calderwood had planned the robbery.

At the appeal on Wednesday, lawyers for the pair sought to use the same CCTV evidence to argue that the convictions were unsafe and should be quashed.

The lawyers argued that the jury had been shown CCTV evidence during the trial from a new camera, which had not previously been viewed by the defence.

They said that the unexpected sight of that material had prejudiced the men's trial.

It was also argued that fresh material had been revealed by the new camera which could have been helpful to the defendants.

However, refusing the appeals, Lord Justice Elias, said: "We do not accept that there was any prejudice here. We are satisfied there really is no prejudice at all."