On 17th April 2013 the Court of Appeal quashed the 1985 robbery conviction of Martin Foran.
The case had been referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), after two earlier appeals were unsuccessful.
Foran was sentenced to eight years in jail at Birmingham Crown Court in 1985 after police officers stated that he confessed to the robbery of a Birmingham publican in his home.
The CCRC concluded that there was a real possibility the convictions would not be upheld by the Court of Appeal in light of the new evidence of “malpractice” which had not previously been considered by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal heard that Foran was interviewed by a member of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, which had been disbanded in 1989. The officer involved was associated with a number of cases of malpractice, including the fabricating of confessions. Lord Justice Leveson commented that the Squad were also associated with “physical abuse of prisoners, fabrication of admissions, planting of evidence and mishandling of informants.” The Court concluded that the conviction “cannot be regarded as safe”.
In the 28 years since the conviction Foran and his family continued to fight to clear his name. Foran is still seeking to have an earlier robbery conviction referred back to the Court of Appeal.
This case demonstrates that it is possible to have a very old conviction successfully overturned decades after the original proceedings. There will be difficulties as paperwork may have been destroyed and transcripts of the trial may no longer be available but the passage of time alone is no reason to believe that a case with merit can not find itself back before the Court of Appeal.
By appeals solicitor, Alison Marriot.
If you have been convicted of an offence and wish to obtain advice in respect of an appeal, please do contact our Appeals team.