We have looked previously at the case of Ashley Charles – the both when he was convicted of murder, and when his appeal against conviction and 14 year tariff was dismissed in December 2013. It’s fair to say that this generated a fair amount of interest.
That, in most cases, would be the end of the line. The only other option is an application to the CCRC, but these are rarely successful.
In this case, it seems that Mr Charles made an application. This would normally be on the grounds of ‘fresh evidence’ (a new DNA test being a classic example). There are other grounds, and one is that there is some new argument that makes the conviction unsafe.
It was down this route that the application went. We don’t have a copy of it unfortunately, but we know it was refused. Mr Charles then launched a Judicial Review of the refusal. This was heard, and dismissed, with the judgment being given on 25th May 2017.
It’s worth reading, but in essence the argument was that the conviction was unsafe because
1) the case should have been stopped by the Judge as no jury could conclude that Mr Charles intended to murder Mr Sherriff, and (despite no application being made).
2) there should have been a Nedrick direction – a warning to the jury that foresight is not the same as intention.
It has to be said that on the face of it is was always going to be very difficult to succeed on either ground. The trial was at the Old Bailey with both the Prosecution and Mr Charles being represented by senior and experienced lawyers. It was always unlikely that they had missed either point if there was something in it.
And so it proved, as the High Court dismissed the application. Given that the whole incident was caught on CCTV, and the main issue at trial was what was in Mr Charles’s mind, it is pretty unlikely that there will be any fresh evidence, and so Mr Charles will now likely remain in prison for (at least) the next 9 years.