Commission refers the rape conviction of Aaron George to the Court of Appeal

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the rape conviction of Aaron George to the Court of Appeal.

Mr George was convicted of rape following a trial at the Inner London Crown Court in July 2010. He was sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment.

Mr George was refused leave to appeal shortly after the trial. He applied to the Commission in March 2012.

Having conducted a detailed review of the case, the Commission has decided to refer Mr George’s conviction to the Court of Appeal because it considers there is a real possibility that the Court will quash the conviction.

The referral is based on new mobile phone evidence relevant to the issue of consent and to the credibility of the complainant, and on identifiable errors on the part of the police, the prosecution and the defence that arguably rendered the trial process unfair.

Mr George was not legally represented in his application to the Commission.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 232 0906 or e-mail press@ccrc.gov.uk.

Notes for editors

1.    The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.

2.    There are currently twelve Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.

3.    The Commission usually receives around 1,500 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year.  Typically, around 3.5%, or one in 29, of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

4.    The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made.  New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal.  Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.

5.    If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.