Justice and the Law

Hackney man loses legal compensation bid after serving seven years for murder he was cleared of

Royal-courts-of-justice by MykReeve at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Royal-courts-of-justice by MykReeve at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A Hackney man who served seven years behind bars before his ‘unsafe’ murder conviction was overturned has lost his High Court bid for compensation.

Sam Hallam asked two judges to rule that UK law is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights by restricting compensation in ‘miscarriage of justice’ cases.

His case had been joined with another man who served seven years for a rape conviction also overturned.

The judicial review challenges were the first to be brought against the coalition government’s decision last year to narrow eligibility for an award.

Lord Justice Burnett and Mrs Justice Thirlwall dismissed their cases at the Royal Courts of Justice today.

Click below to download full court ruling.

Nealon & Hallam, R (on the application) v The Secretary of State for Justice

Mr Hallam was arrested after a gang of youths attacked Essayas Kassahun, who died two days later, on October 11th 2004.

He was only 17 when convicted of Mr Kassahun’s murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.

But in May 2012 – seven years and seven months into his sentence – appeal judges decided all three sentences were unsafe.

Sam Hallam leaving Royal Courts of Justice in 2012 with his mother after he was released. Image: http://www.samhallam.com/

Sam Hallam leaving Royal Courts of Justice in 2012 with his mother after he was released. Image: http://www.samhallam.com/

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.

The Ministry of Justice 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 Ministry also said the new evidence did not show ‘beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Hallam did not commit the offence.’

Mr Hallam intends to take his case to the Court of Appeal.

Paul May, chair of the Sam Hallam Defence Campaign, said:

This is a sad day for justice and the presumption of innocence.

We hope the Court of Appeal will overturn this judgment.

 

 

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