- Tower Hamlets
A 24-year-old Hoxton man who claims to have been wrongly convicted of the murder of a chef in 2004 has had his case referred to the Court of Appeal.
The conviction of Sam Hallam, who was just 18 when he was tried for the murder is to be reviewed by the Court following an inquiry supervised by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The CCRC said: it had carried out an ‘’extensive investigation’’ into the case, pursuing many of its own lines of enquiry as well as investigating the issues raised by Hallam and his supporters.
It added: ‘’The Commission has decided to refer Sam Hallam’s convictions to the Court of Appeal because it considers that a range of issues, including new evidence capable of casting doubt on the reliability of identification evidence at trialtogether raise the real possibility that the Court of Appeal would now quash the conviction..”
Sam Hallam’s mother Wendy Cohen told the Hackney Citizen:”After seven years of injustice, there’s at last some hope for my innocent son. We’ve still got some way to go before the nightmare ends but I’m certain when the Court of Appeal looks at the new evidence that Sam will be released. Although we’re unhappy about how long the inquiry took, I’d like to thank the Commission and Thames Valley Police for the painstaking and thorough manner in which they investigated Sam’s case.
Hallam was jailed for life in 2005, alongside Bullabek Ringbiong, who was 20 at the time, for the killing of Essayas Kassahun, 21, a chef in Clerkenwell in October 2004. He was expected to serve a minimum term of 12 years.
The murder, described in court as a “totally disproportionate act of revenge”, took place after a gang of 40 youths armed with spiked bats and knives set upon Kassahun, who had tried to help his friend, the intended victim of the attack.
Hallam, who pleaded not guilty saying he was not there, was convicted of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.
The prosecution case was based principally on the evidence of two witnesses who said they were present at the murder scene and said they saw Hallam take part in the fatal attack.
The Commission decided to review the case in 2009 after new witnesses came forward to say that Hallam was playing football and not at the scene of the crime.