Tuesday 13th March 2013
Charlie has not finally been given a date for his parole hearing. May 2nd 2013. Let's hope the Parole Board will acknowledge Charlie's hard work in almost possible conditions, completing the Violence Reduction Programme and remaining adjudication-free for a substantial amount of time now.
Wednesday 27th June 2012
Now in receipt of the 30 page document prepared by Charlie's legal team, we can advise supporters of the following points upon which Charlie is hoping to bring his case back to the Appeal Court as per the Criminal Appeal Act 1995.
The whole question of the defence of duress is a complicated one. As well as 'duress', there is 'duress of circumstances.' This is an entirely different plea and one that would have been much better applied to Charlie's circumstances. Remember, he was on trial for false imprisonment, against art teacher Phil Danielson. Had Charlie been advised to use the plea of duress of circumstances, the outcome of his trial almost certainly would have been different to the life sentence he received.
Charlie's legal team are also keen to point out that the trial judge DISMISSED the plea of 'duress' as he felt it was not applicable. This may be the case but for two points:
1. The trial judge, in disallowing the plea of duress, left the jury with no option but to find Charlie guilty. He effectively instructed the jury to find Charlie guilty. It is not for the judge to do this, it is for the jury to decide the fate of the defendant.
2. Charlie was unrepresented at his trial (he had dismissed his legal team), so he did not have access to expert legal knowledge or the finer details of the law. Given the seriousness of the trial, it is incredible how the judge let the trial proceed without Charlie having legal representation. Any barrister or QC would have been able to point out the differences in the plea of duress and duress of circumstances and ensured the trial went in this direction.
Charlie's previous medical history regarding his mental health also raises some important legal points:
* Why was he allowed to represent himself? As a vulnerable adult with possible psychological problems and a history of mental health issues... WHY? HOW?
* Did duress of circumstances contribute considerably to his state of mind and actions?
Charlie's legal team believe his case is of 'great public importance' and, in the interests of law, the human rights aspects of his trial to be significant. It is certainly an extremely complex case, given Charlie's history through the various prisons and secure mental hospitals over the period of some 30 years.
In summary, the legal team feel Charlie has a good chance of success in pursuing an application to the CCRC, with a view to going back to the Appeal Court. However, due to the complexities of the case, they feel a QC (Queen's Counsel) is sought to draft this application. This will hopefully be prominent Human Rights Barrister Hugh Southey.
Supporters, watch this space for more news and any developments.