A breakthrough for Kevin Nunn
We acted for Kevin Nunn in his Supreme Court case for access to the crime scene exhibits for the murder in Suffolk he was convicted of in 2006. The case raised the question of the extent of any continuing duty of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to assist him in gathering and examining evidence with a view to a challenge to his conviction, which he has always said was a miscarriage of justice.
The presence of sperm on the body pointed to someone other than Kevin as he had had a vasectomy, but the sample was too small to yield a DNA profile with the science of the day. Then new DNA techniques emerged and Kevin asked for the sample to be DNA profiled, but Suffolk police refused to do the work and refused defence scientists access to the samples.
Kevin challenged that refusal and took it to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, only to be told in November 2014 that the only channel to getting the work done was through the CCRC. Back to Square 1. In January 2015, we sent an application to the CCRC for a review, enclosing the work of our scientist Ros Hammond, and got the reply that they had so much work on that they would not be able to look at it till September.
At last we now have notice from the CCRC that they have requisitioned the records of the forensic science work police commissioned for the trial and the Crown Court's files. A nominated decision maker (NDM) has been assigned to the case 'to determine what forensic testing will be conducted as part of the review. A meeting is being held this week (letter is dated 3rd November) to discuss the recommendations of Rosalyn Hammond and the CCRC's forensic strategy in the review'
Footnote from the US
The FBI is notifying hundreds of defendants in 46 states that their convictions involved flawed expert testimony. It now admits that nearly every examiner in an elite forensic unit overstated hair matches that favoured prosecutors.
This is one of the country's largest-ever forensic scandals and includes dozens of death row convictions, including the case of Cleveland Wright who spent 28 years -- almost half his life behind bars -- serving time for a 1978 murder.
His conviction, it now turns out, was based on a false FBI hair analysis. Recent DNA profiling of the crime scene hairs which were said at trial to be indistinguishable from Mr Wright's shows beyond doubt they did not come from Mr Wright
"I didn't know anything about forensics. I didn't know too much about law when I got arrested and locked up, but I just knew I was innocent," Mr Wright said.
Mr Wright remains hopeful for his future and the hundreds of others who may have been wrongfully convicted.
"I just thank God for the people that's looking into these cases; not only mine, other people that are in the same situation that I am in, you know, they need help too, they crying out too, their heart is crying out also," Wright said.
Unhappily, not all those wrongly convicted can cry out. Of 268 cases reviewed where FBI hair analysis led to a conviction, 32 defendants were sentenced to death, of whom 12 have been executed.
James Saunders, representing Kevin Nunn said:
"So at last, after 10 wasted years, Kevin's case is moving forward. It now isn't a question of whether there will be further scientific work, but what forensic testing will be conducted. The CCRC have exercised their legal powers to take the materials from Suffolk police, and Kevin's fate is no longer in their gift."[/fusion_text]