Maya Sikand secures Court of Appeal acquittal for client denied fair trial

Thursday 28 October 2010

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Maya Sikand has successfully appealed a conviction for a client who was denied a fair trial after the prosecution misled the original trial judge.

R v Sultan Shah [2010] EWCA Crim 2326, 13 October 2010

The case was the last in a series of CCRC referrals involving both non-disclosure of material evidence and malpractice by British Customs Officers in their deployment of participating informants in Pakistan to infiltrate the drugs trade between Britain and Pakistan in the late 80s and early 90s. The cases were all presided over by Hooper LJ and began with R v Choudhery and Another [2005] EWCA Crim 1788 and [2005] EWCA Crim 2598, followed by R v Latif and Others [2007] EWCA Crim 307, R v Vernett-Showers [2007] EWCA Crim 2598 and R v Rafiq and Hussain [2008] EWCA Crim 1518.

Maya was successful in having Shah's conviction quashed on the basis of gross prosecutorial misconduct. The principal ground of appeal related to the failure on the part of the prosecution to have the three main witnesses available for cross-examination. The Court of Appeal found that the trial judge was misled into believing that steps had been taken to trace the three witnesses when no such steps had been taken and that the appellant did not therefore have a fair trial.

Maya was also counsel for Hussain in R v Rafiq and Hussain in this same series of cases. Hussain had his conviction quashed on the grounds of material non-disclosure.

To read the full judgment, click here.

Maya Sikand is a member of the Garden Court Crime Team.

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