by Lorraine ALLEN
against the United Kingdom
lodged on 29 April 2009
STATEMENT OF FACTS
1. The applicant, Ms Lorraine Allen, is a British national who was born in 1969 and lives in Scarborough. She is represented before the Court by Mr M. Pemberton, a lawyer practising in Wigan.
A. The circumstances of the case
2. The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
1. The applicant’s conviction and appeal
3. On 7 September 2000 the applicant was convicted by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court of the manslaughter of her four-month old son, Patrick. She was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Evidence was given at her trial by expert medical witnesses who described how the injuries suffered by her son were consistent with shaking or an impact. The conviction was based on the accepted hypothesis concerning “shaken baby syndrome”, also knows as “non-accidental head injury” (“NAHI”), to the effect that the findings of a triad of intracranial injuries consisting of encephalopathy, subdural haemorrhages and retinal haemorrhages were either diagnostic of, or at least very strongly suggestive of, the use of unlawful force. All three were present in the case of the death of the applicant’s son.
4. Following a review of cases in which expert medical evidence had been relied upon, the applicant applied for, and was granted, leave to appeal out of time. The appeal was based on a challenge to the accepted hypothesis concerning NAHI on the basis that new medical evidence suggested that the triad of injuries could be attributed to a cause other than NAHI.
5. On an unknown date, the applicant was released from prison, having served her sentence.
6. In the context of the appeal proceedings, the Court of Appeal heard evidence from a number of medical experts. On 21 July 2005 the court quashed the applicant’s conviction on the grounds that it was unsafe.
7. As to its role in reviewing the case on the basis of the ground of appeal advanced, Lord Justice Gage, delivering the opinion of the court, noted:
“70. ... on general issues of this nature, where there is a genuine difference between two reputable medical opinions, in our judgment, the Court of Criminal Appeal will not usually be the appropriate forum for these issues to be resolved. The focus of this Court will be (as ours has been) to decide the safety of the conviction bearing in mind the test in fresh evidence appeals which we set out below. That is not to say that such differences cannot be resolved at trial. At trial, when such issues arise, it will be for the jury (in a criminal trial) and the judge (in a civil trial) to resolve them as issues of fact on all the available evidence in the case ...”
8. Gage LJ referred to the court’s task of deciding whether the conviction was safe, as set out in Dial and another v. State of Trinidad and Tobago and R v. Pendleton (see below), and in particular whether any of the new evidence advanced at appeal might reasonably have affected the decision of the jury to convict. He reviewed the medical evidence of the experts on behalf of the applicant and the Crown, noting the differences between their views, and found:
“145. The importance of [expert for the applicant] Dr Squier’s evidence is that it throws doubt on the significance of such subdural haemorrhages as there are; and it throws doubt on the evidence of injuries to the brain described by Dr Rorke-Adams [expert for the Crown]. We are far from saying that we accept Dr Squier’s evidence in preference to that of Dr Rorke-Adams. Indeed, in view of the weight of evidence disputing her opinions we have reservations about whether Dr Squier can be right. But equally, in all the circumstances of this case, the differences between them are ones which the jury would have had to have assessed in the light of all the evidence in the case.
146. Secondly, although the evidence of the findings of retinal haemorrhages is powerful supporting evidence of shaking, on its own it is not diagnostic of shaking. If the subdural haemorrhages are undermined, the retinal haemorrhages findings will not fill the gap although we recognise that both can be considered together. There is also the issue of whether Dr Adams [for the applicant] may be correct in her view that fixed and dilated pupils seen by the ambulance crew was a sign of brain swelling at that time.
147. Thirdly, although as we have already stated the amount of force required to cause the triad of injuries will in most case be more than just rough handling, the evidence suggests that there will be rare cases when injuries will not correspond to the amount of force used. It is at least possible that in such rare cases (maybe very rare cases) very little force will cause catastrophic injuries.”
9. Emphasising the importance of the clinical evidence in the case, Gage LJ continued:
“150. ... In summary, Harris was described as a careful and caring mother. She called out Dr Barber late at night because of her concerns for Patrick. Dr Barber described her as being calm and controlled at that time. The prosecution’s case at trial was that in the interval between Dr Barber leaving the house and 2.30am when Harris telephoned the emergency services she must have violently and unlawfully shaken Patrick. In our judgment this history combined with the absence of findings of bruises to any part of the head, face or body; and the absence of fractures or any other sign apart from the triad of injuries, does not fit easily with the Crown’s case of an unlawful assault based on the triad of injuries, itself a hypothesis.”
10. He concluded:
“152. As we have said the Crown’s evidence and arguments are powerful. We are conscious that the witnesses called on behalf of Harris have not identified to our satisfaction a specific alternative cause of Patrick’s injuries. But, in this appeal the triad stands alone and in our judgment the clinical evidence points away from NAHI. Here the triad itself may be uncertain for the reasons already expressed. In any event, on our view of the evidence in these appeals, the mere presence of the triad on its own cannot automatically or necessarily lead to a diagnosis of NAHI.
153. The central issue at trial was whether Harris caused the death of her son, Patrick, by the use of unlawful force. We ask ourselves whether the fresh evidence, which we have heard as to the cause of death and the amount of force necessary to cause the triad, might reasonably have affected the jury’s decision to convict. For all the reasons referred to we have concluded that it might. Accordingly the conviction is unsafe and this appeal must be allowed. The conviction will be quashed.”
11. No re-trial of the applicant was ordered.
2. The compensation claim
12. Following the quashing of the conviction, the applicant sought compensation for a miscarriage of justice pursuant to section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (“the 1988 Act” – see below).
13. By letter dated 31 May 2006 the applicant’s solicitors were informed that the Secretary of State did not consider that a right to compensation arose in her case. The letter noted:
“The Home Secretary is of the opinion that your client does not fulfil the statutory requirements of Section 133(1) of the Act because the medical evidence considered by the Court of Appeal did not disclose a new fact ... The Home Secretary’s view is that this new medical evidence about the degree of force required to cause a triad of injuries is not a new or newly discovered fact; rather it shows the changing medical opinion about the degree of force needed to cause a triad and is properly categorised as new evidence of facts known all along rather than new facts.”
14. The applicant subsequently brought judicial review proceedings challenging the decision to refuse to pay her compensation under section 133 of the 1988 Act.
15. The claim was dismissed by Mr Justice Mitting on 10 December 2007. He considered the approach of the Court of Appeal in quashing the applicant’s conviction and drew the following conclusions:
“(1) the court applied the Pendleton test and did not decide for itself the complex medical issues raised by the evidence which it heard; (2) all that it decided was that the evidence which it had heard could, if accepted by the jury, have led a jury to acquit the claimant; (3) notwithstanding that conclusion, the court was of the opinion that the Crown’s case was a strong one. I do not understand that conclusion to be consistent with the proposition that at the conclusion of a new trial, on that evidence, a trial judge would have been obliged to direct the jury to acquit the claimant; (4) the material considered by the Court of Appeal which led to its conclusion was a complex mixture of fact and opinion.”
16. He observed that the Court of Appeal did not order a re-trial but considered that this was not significant as the applicant had, by that time, served her sentence and any re-trial would have been pointless and would not have been in the public interest.
“37. In cases such as this – which depend principally or wholly on the conclusions to be drawn from expert medical evidence about minute signs in the body of a dead child – the distinction between opinion and fact is exceptionally hard to draw. Indeed one can properly describe it as metaphysical. As the analysis of the Court of Appeal of the detailed controversy between Dr Rorke-Adams and Dr Squier demonstrates, their views differed both as to clinical findings and as to opinion. But also their clinical findings depended, to some extent at least, upon the opinion that they formed about the likely cause of such clinical evidence as they found. It is simply impossible in a case such as this to disentangle opinion from fact, and it would be seriously unjust to a claimant to refuse a claim for compensation merely because the claim was based upon a change in medical opinion as well as in clinical findings.
38. Section 133 was directed to rectifying conclusions of fact drawn by a jury on the basis of the evidence which it had heard. There is no proper basis, in my view, for construing Section 133 so narrowly as to exclude from consideration new opinions by experts in the field as well as new facts strictly so called. The focus of Section 133 is the rectification – by payment of compensation – of miscarriages of justice. It matters not, provided that the base conditions are fulfilled, that the miscarriage of justice occurs as a result of a combination of new fact and new opinion about facts in a case such as this.
38. Accordingly the narrow basis upon which the claim was refused, in my view, was mistaken and based upon an erroneous assessment of the law applicable to the claim. That is not however determinative of this claim for there would be no purpose in my quashing the decision and requiring it to be reconsidered if in fact the defendant would be bound to reach the same decision for a somewhat different reason.”
18. Mitting J went on to consider whether the applicant was entitled to compensation under the 1988 Act. He examined the approaches of Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Lord Steyn in the case of R (Mullen), a case which also concerned the payment of compensation following the quashing of a conviction on appeal (see below). He referred to the following observations of the Lord Chief Justice in R (on the application of Clibery) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1855 Admin:
“ ‘Lord Bingham, in the passage of his judgment [in R (Mullen)] that we have set out above, considered two different situations, each of which he considered fell within the description of “miscarriage of justice” in Section 133 of the 1988 Act. The first is where new facts demonstrate that the claimant was innocent of the offence of which he was convicted. In such circumstances, it is possible to say that if the facts in question had been before the jury, he would not have been convicted. The second is where there are acts or omissions in the course of the trial which should not have occurred and which so infringed his right to a fair trial that it is possible to say that he was “wrongly convicted”. In such circumstances it is appropriate to say that the claimant should not have been convicted.
The most that can be said is that if the jury had had advance notice of the lies that the complainant told after her husband’s trial they might not have convicted.’ ”
19. He continued:
“42. Mr Southey [for the applicant] has not addressed me on the Strasbourg learning on the presumption of innocence. I make no decision by reference to that. He reserves his position on that for another day. Subject to that it seems to me to be outwith the statutory language to describe a case in which a jury might have reached a different conclusion as showing ‘beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice’. Lord Bingham’s observations about miscarriages of process seem to me to have no bearing on evidential miscarriage of justice cases. In evidential miscarriage of justice cases what is required is that the new or newly discovered fact must show beyond a reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice. That is not shown where all that is established is that, if new evidence had been available, a properly directed jury might have reached a different conclusion.”
20. Mitting J further observed:
“...as the recital of the medical evidence heard by the Court of Appeal and by the trial jury demonstrates ... there was powerful evidence against this claimant. At the conclusion of the prosecution case or indeed at the conclusion of all the evidence, on the view of the Court of Appeal expressly stated, it would have been for the jury to determine the issue ...”
21. He concluded:
“As the passages which I have cited from the judgment of the Court of Appeal [in Clibery] demonstrate, all that it decided was that the new evidence created the possibility that when taken with the evidence given at the trial a jury might properly acquit the claimant. That falls well short of demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that there had been a miscarriage of justice in this case. Accordingly and for that simple reason, I dismiss this claim.”
22. e re
The applicant appealed. On 15 July 2008 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Lord Justice Hughes, delivering the court’s judgment, summarised the approach of the Court of Appeal in quashing the applicant’s conviction and noted:
“17. ... there can be no doubt that the court regarded the proper interpretation of the clinical findings in this case as a matter which it ought not itself to resolve, but rather as one which could and should be resolved by a jury on hearing the competing expert opinions. Adopting that approach, it decided that the evidence which was now available might, if it had been heard by the jury, have led to a different result.”
23. As to the failure of the court to order a re-trial, he commented:
“18. ... by the time of the appeal the appellant had served her sentence and a great deal of time had passed. Understandably, in those circumstances, there was no application by the Crown for a re-trial, as there would no doubt have been had the conviction been quashed for these reasons shortly after trial.”
24. Regarding the right to compensation under section 133 of the 1988 Act, Hughes LJ observed:
“19. ... Firstly, the right to compensation only arises in those cases of quashed convictions where the appeal succeeds on the basis of ‘a new or newly discovered fact’. The common cases of error of law at trial, or misdirection of the jury, or procedural irregularity are thus excluded. Secondly, it arises only where the miscarriage of justice is established by such new fact ‘conclusively’ or ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. The common case in which a conviction is quashed because there exist some doubts about its safety is thus also excluded. Thirdly, section 133 gives effect to the requirement that there shall have been a new or newly discovered fact by restricting compensation to cases other than appeals allowed in ordinary course, namely to those either heard out of time or referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.”
25. Hughes LJ summarised the difference of approach between Lords Bingham and Steyn in R (Mullen) as follows:
“Lord Steyn held ... that in this context ‘miscarriage of justice’ means that the innocence of the defendant is acknowledged. Lord Bingham ... expressed no concluded opinion on this question, but made it clear that he ‘hesitated to accept’ this interpretation. For his part, he was ready to accept that ‘miscarriage of justice’ extended in this context to serious failures of the trial process, whether or not innocence was demonstrated.”
26. It was clear, and counsel for the applicant conceded, that the applicant’s innocence had not been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, or conclusively, by the decision of the Court of Appeal to quash the conviction. If Lord Steyn’s interpretation was correct, the applicant’s claim therefore failed. As to Lord Bingham’s interpretation, Hughes LJ noted:
“...it is plain that the critical feature of the extended interpretation of ‘miscarriage of justice’ which [Lord Bingham] was prepared to contemplate is that ‘something has gone seriously wrong in.....the conduct of the trial’ ...”
27. He continued:
“27. In the present case there was nothing which went wrong with the conduct of the trial, whether seriously or otherwise. In speaking of ‘flawed expert evidence’ it is clear that Lord Bingham cannot have been contemplating evidence which was conscientiously given and based upon sound expertise at the time of trial. The most that could be said against the expert evidence given at this trial is that it might need adjustment in the light of new medical research and/or thinking. In any event, the medical evidence given at time of trial has not been demonstrated to be flawed, even in this limited sense. As the passages from the judgment of the [Court of Appeal] which I have cited show, this court’s decision went no further than to say that the differences of medical opinion needed to be resolved by a jury. Nor was this a case in which the jury was presented with a medical consensus that the triad was diagnostic of unlawful killing. The medical evidence called for the appellant accepted that it was consistent with unlawful killing but disputed that it necessarily led to that conclusion. The appeal was allowed because over the intervening years more possible force had emerged for the opinion voiced on the appellant’s behalf and now supported by Dr Squier’s evidence, which the jury had not heard and which the [Court of Appeal], despite plain doubts about it, was not in a position wholly to dismiss.
28. For the same reasons, I have no doubt that the decision of the [Court of Appeal] does not begin to carry the implication that there was no case for the appellant to answer once the fresh evidence was available ...”
28. He therefore concluded:
“29. In the present case, there was no basis for saying that, on the new evidence, there was no case to go to a jury. Moreover, if the court had meant to say that there was (now) no case to answer, it would have said so in plain terms. On the contrary, its oft-repeated statements that the evaluation of the rival medical opinions would be a matter for the jury are wholly inconsistent with a finding that there was no case to answer on the new state of medical evidence. Likewise, the posing of the Pendleton question by way of check is inconsistent with a finding that the case should never have reached the jury if the fresh evidence had been known.
29. Although in the circumstances it was not necessary to resolve the difference of construction articulated by Lord Bingham and Lord Steyn, Hughes LJ nonetheless expressed a preference for Lord Steyn’s approach. He noted:
“40. Whilst I agree of course that the [Court of Appeal] does not ordinarily address the question of guilt or innocence, but only the safety of the conviction, those cases where the innocence of the convicted defendant is genuinely demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt by new or newly discovered fact will be identifiable in that court and the judgment will, in virtually every case, make plain that this is so. Accordingly I respectfully part company from the view expressed by Schiemann LJ, when Mullen was in the Court of Appeal, that the approach of the [Court of Appeal] makes the operation of section 133 difficult or unworkable unless a broader definition of miscarriage of justice is adopted. On the contrary, as it seems to me, the operation of the section poses very real difficulties if the broader definition is adopted, for then it becomes necessary to ask in every case of conviction quashed on grounds of fresh evidence whether it satisfies the section 133 criterion of miscarriage proved beyond reasonable doubt or is merely a case of doubt raised to the extent that the conviction is unsafe. If, however, miscarriage of justice means the establishment of innocence beyond reasonable doubt, there will usually be no difficulty in those cases being apparent from the judgments of the [Court of Appeal].”
30. As regards the applicant’s submissions based on the presumption of innocence in Article 6 § 2, Hughes LJ referred to the Court’s judgments in Sekanina v. Austria, 25 August 1993, Series A no. 266 A; Rushiti v. Austria, no. 28389/95, 21 March 2000; Weixelbraun v. Austria, no. 33730/96, 20 December 2001; O. v. Norway, no. 29327/95, ECHR 2003 II; and Hammern v. Norway, no. 30287/96, 11 February 2003. He concluded that they did not lead to the conclusion that the applicant was entitled to compensation under section 133, for, inter alia, the following reasons:
“35. i) None of these cases considered the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966] scheme for payment of compensation for conclusively proved miscarriage of justice, which is what is in issue here.
ii) Article 14 of the ICCPR juxtaposes within it both the provision for compensation in article 14(6), now under consideration, and, in article 14(2), a provision in terms identical to article 6(2) ECHR. Yet by article 14(6) it plainly requires something more than the quashing of the conviction before the right to compensation arises, namely that a miscarriage of justice be conclusively demonstrated by new or newly discovered facts. It does not seem to me that these provisions could co-exist in these terms if the consequence of article 14(2) was that nothing more could be required for compensation beyond the quashing of the conviction on the basis of new fact ...
iii) Whilst the ICCPR is a treaty independent of the European Convention, provisions identical to article 14(6) are to be found in Protocol 7 to the ECHR, article 3. For the same reasons, it is inconceivable that article 3 could be in the terms it is if article 6(2) of the main Convention meant that compensation necessarily followed the quashing of a conviction on the basis of fresh evidence.
vi) The basis for the decisions in the Austrian and Norwegian cases was the closeness of the link between the decision to acquit on the merits and the decision as to compensation. In the Austrian cases the compensation decision was within the jurisdiction of the criminal court, albeit it was usually made by a differently constituted criminal court some time after the acquittal, as for example a confiscation order may be in England. Moreover, the court proceeded in part by analysing the decision of the trial jury. In the Norwegian cases the acquittal was made by a court composed of judges and jury, and the same judges went on more or less immediately to consider compensation ...
vii) By contrast, compensation in a fresh evidence case under article 14(6) and section 133 is not linked to any acquittal on the merits. Rather, it is to be paid when not only has there been a reversal of the conviction but also where the additional factor exists of a miscarriage of justice demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, or conclusively, to have taken place.
viii) It can no doubt be said ... that just as compensation for acquittal under the Norwegian scheme was described by the Court as a procedure whose object was ‘to establish whether the State had a financial obligation to compensate the burden it had created for the ...person by the proceedings it had instituted against him’ (see O v Norway paragraph 38), so too is the scheme for compensation for miscarriage of justice under article 14(6). But that is to beg the question when the scheme in question creates such an obligation. If article 6(2) were to apply to claims under the scheme here under consideration, there would be no reason in logic or fairness to distinguish between those whose convictions are quashed on grounds of fresh evidence and those whose convictions are quashed on other grounds; each would be in the position of being able to rely on the presumption of innocence. Indeed, there would be no obvious reason for distinguishing between those who are convicted but whose convictions are quashed, and those who are acquitted at trial. But it is clear that article 14(6) does not provide for compensation to be paid except in the limited circumstances to which it refers.
31. The applicant sought leave to appeal to the House of Lords. Leave was refused on 11 December 2008.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
1. The power of the Court of Appeal to quash a conviction
32. Section 2(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (as amended) provides that the Court of Appeal:
“(a) shall allow an appeal against conviction if they think that the conviction is unsafe; and
(b) shall dismiss such an appeal in any other case.”
33. Section 2(2) requires the court to quash the conviction in the event that it allows the appeal.
34. Section 2(3) provides:
“An order of the Court of Appeal quashing a conviction shall, except when under section 7 below the appellant is ordered to be retried, operate as a direction to the court of trial to enter, instead of the record of conviction, a judgment and verdict of acquittal.”
35. In R v. Pendleton  UKHL 66, the House of Lords considered the approach of appeal courts in cases involving fresh evidence. Lord Bingham of Cornhill noted:
“19. It is undesirable that exercise of the important judgment entrusted to the Court of Appeal by section 2(1) of the 1968 Act should be constrained by words not to be found in the statute and that adherence to a particular thought process should be required by judicial decision. Thus the House in Stafford were right to reject the submission of counsel that the Court of Appeal had asked the wrong question by taking as the test the effect of the fresh evidence on their minds and not the effect that that evidence would have had on the mind of the jury ( AC 878 at 880). It would, as the House pointed out, be anomalous for the court to say that the evidence raised no doubt whatever in their minds but might have raised a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. I am not persuaded that the House laid down any incorrect principle in Stafford, so long as the Court of Appeal bears very clearly in mind that the question for its consideration is whether the conviction is safe and not whether the accused is guilty. But the test advocated by counsel in Stafford and by Mr Mansfield in this appeal does have a dual virtue to which the speeches I have quoted perhaps gave somewhat inadequate recognition. First, it reminds the Court of Appeal that it is not and should never become the primary decision-maker. Secondly, it reminds the Court of Appeal that it has an imperfect and incomplete understanding of the full processes which led the jury to convict. The Court of Appeal can make its assessment of the fresh evidence it has heard, but save in a clear case it is at a disadvantage in seeking to relate that evidence to the rest of the evidence which the jury heard. For these reasons it will usually be wise for the Court of Appeal, in a case of any difficulty, to test their own provisional view by asking whether the evidence, if given at the trial, might reasonably have affected the decision of the trial jury to convict. If it might, the conviction must be thought to be unsafe.”
36. Subsequently, Lord Brown of Eaton-Under-Heywood in the Privy Council case of Dial and another v. State of Trinidad and Tobago  UKPC 4, commented:
“31. In the board’s view the law is now clearly established and can be simply stated as follows. Where fresh evidence is adduced on a criminal appeal it is for the Court of Appeal, assuming always that it accepts it, to evaluate its importance in the context of the remainder of the evidence in the case. If the court concludes that the fresh evidence raises no reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused it will dismiss the appeal. The primary question is for the court itself and is not what effect the fresh evidence would have had on the mind of the jury. That said, if the court regards the case as a difficult one, it may find it helpful to test its view ‘by asking whether the evidence, if given at the trial, might reasonably have affected the decision of the trial jury to convict’: R v Pendleton  1 WLR 72, 83, para 19. The guiding principle nevertheless remains that stated by Viscount Dilhorne in Staffords case  AC 878, 906, and affirmed by the House in R v Pendleton:
‘While... the Court of Appeal and this House may find it a convenient approach to consider what a jury might have done if they had heard the fresh evidence, the ultimate responsibility rests with them and them alone for deciding the question [whether or not the verdict is unsafe].’
32. That is the principle correctly and consistently applied nowadays by the criminal division of the Court of Appeal in England ...”
2. Compensation for miscarriages of justice
37. Section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 provides that:
“(1) Subject to subsection (2) below, when a person has been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the Secretary of State shall pay compensation for the miscarriage of justice to the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction ... unless the non-disclosure of the unknown fact was wholly or partly attributable to the person convicted.
(2) No payment of compensation under this section shall be made unless an application for such compensation has been made to the Secretary of State.
(3) The question whether there is a right to compensation under this section shall be determined by the Secretary of State.
(5) In this section ‘reversed’ shall be construed as referring to a conviction having been quashed–
(a) on an appeal out of time; or
(b) on a reference–
(i) under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 [referral to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission];
(6) For the purposes of this section a person suffers punishment as a result of a conviction when sentence is passed on him for the offence of which he was convicted.
38. In R (on the application of Mullen) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKHL 18, the House of Lords considered the interpretation of section 133 of the 1988 Act. Mr Mullen had been convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions and his trial in England had been possible only because the British authorities had arranged his deportation from Zimbabwe in flagrant breach of local and international law. This emerged only after conviction and his case came before the Court of Appeal approximately seven years later. The conviction was quashed on the ground that Mr Mullen’s deportation had involved abuse of process, namely a gross abuse of executive power. His claim for compensation under section 133 or, alternatively, the previous ex gratia scheme was refused. In a subsequent challenge, the House of Lords unanimously found that section 133 did not extend to the case where the conviction was quashed on grounds entirely unconnected with the guilt or innocence of the defendant and where there had been no failure in the trial process.
39. Lord Bingham noted at the outset:
“4. ...The expression ‘wrongful convictions’ is not a legal term of art and it has no settled meaning. Plainly the expression includes the conviction of those who are innocent of the crime of which they have been convicted. But in ordinary parlance the expression would, I think, be extended to those who, whether guilty or not, should clearly not have been convicted at their trials. It is impossible and unnecessary to identify the manifold reasons why a defendant may be convicted when he should not have been. It may be because the evidence against him was fabricated or perjured. It may be because flawed expert evidence was relied on to secure conviction. It may be because evidence helpful to the defence was concealed or withheld. It may be because the jury was the subject of malicious interference. It may be because of judicial unfairness or misdirection. In cases of this kind, it may, or more often may not, be possible to say that a defendant is innocent, but it is possible to say that he has been wrongly convicted. The common factor in such cases is that something has gone seriously wrong in the investigation of the offence or the conduct of the trial, resulting in the conviction of someone who should not have been convicted.”
40. He continued:
“8. ... In quashing Mr Mullen’s conviction the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) condemned the abuse of executive power which had led to his apprehension and abduction in the only way it effectively could. But it identified no failure in the trial process. It is for failures of the trial process that the Secretary of State is bound, by section 133 and article 14(6), to pay compensation. On that limited ground I would hold that he is not bound to pay compensation under section 133.”
41. He hesitated to accept the submission of the Secretary of State to the effect that section 133, reflecting Article 14(6) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR” – see below), obliged him to pay compensation only when a defendant, finally acquitted in circumstances satisfying the statutory conditions, is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be innocent of the crime of which he had been convicted. In light of his conclusion that no compensation was payable, it was, however, not necessary to decide this point.
42. Lord Steyn observed that section 133 was modelled on Article 14(6) ICCPR, as was Article 3 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention. He reviewed several judgments of this Court in which a violation of Article 6 § 2 had been found in respect of compensation claims where the applicants had been acquitted at trial, concluding:
“41. ... The decisions are not relevant to the issue presently under consideration. The interaction between article 6(2) and article 3 of Protocol No. 7 was not under consideration. The reason was that in Austrian legislation there was a wider right to compensation than provided by article 3 of Protocol No. 7.”
43. Having concluded that the jurisprudence of this Court was of no assistance in the interpretation of section 133, Lord Steyn continued:
“45. It is now possible to examine the interpretation of article 14(6) on its own terms. The starting point must, of course, be the language and structure of article 14(6) as enacted in United Kingdom law by section 133. It is to be noted that a case where a defendant was wrongly convicted (e.g. on the ground that the circumstantial evidence did not exclude the reasonable possibility of innocence) and then had his conviction quashed on an appeal lodged within ordinary time limits does not qualify for compensation. There was no intention to create a right to compensation in favour of victims in this category. All cases in this category are excluded whatever the grounds on which the appeal is allowed and whatever the cause of the wrongful conviction. It follows that there was no overarching purpose of compensating all who are wrongly convicted. In cases of a wrongful conviction quashed on an appeal out of time an indispensable pre-condition is that ‘(1) a new or newly discovered fact (2) shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice’ (numbering added). If there is no new or newly discovered fact, but simply, for example, a recognition that an earlier dismissal of an appeal was wrong, the case falls outside article 14(6). That is so, however palpable the error in the first appellate decision may have been, and however severe the punishment that the victim suffered unjustly. These considerations demonstrate that the fundamental right under article 14(6) was unquestionably narrowly circumscribed.
46. The requirement that the new or newly discovered fact must show conclusively (or beyond reasonable doubt in the language of section 133) ‘that there has been a miscarriage of justice’ is important. It filters out cases where it is only established that there may have been a wrongful conviction. Similarly excluded are cases where it is only probable that there has been a wrongful conviction. These two categories would include the vast majority of cases where an appeal is allowed out of time ... I regard these considerations as militating against the expansive interpretation of ‘miscarriage of justice’ put forward on behalf of Mr Mullen. They also demonstrate the implausibility of the extensive interpretation of Schiemann LJ [in the Court of Appeal in the present case]: it entirely erodes the effect of evidence showing ‘conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice’. While accepting that in other contexts ‘a miscarriage of justice’ is capable of bearing a narrower or wider meanings, the only relevant context points to a narrow interpretation, viz the case where innocence is demonstrated.”
44. Thus he concluded:
“56. ... the autonomous meaning of the words ‘a miscarriage of justice’ extends only to ‘clear cases of miscarriage of justice, in the sense that there would be acknowledgement that the person concerned was clearly innocent’ as it is put in the Explanatory Report. This is the international meaning which Parliament adopted when it enacted section 133 of the 1988 Act.”
C. Relevant international material
1. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966
45. Article 14(2) of the ICCPR provides that:
“Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
46. Article 14(6) provides:
“When a person has by a final decision been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction shall be compensated according to law, unless it is proved that the non-disclosure of the unknown fact in time is wholly or partly attributable to him.”
2. Explanatory report to Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
47. Article 3 of Protocol No. 7 reads:
“When a person has by a final decision been convicted of a criminal offence and when subsequently his conviction has been reversed, or he has been pardoned, on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice, the person who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction shall be compensated according to the law or the practice of the State concerned, unless it is proved that the non disclosure of the unknown fact in time is wholly or partly attributable to him.”
48. The Explanatory Report to Protocol No. 7, Article 3 of which guarantees the right to compensation for wrongful conviction, was prepared by the Steering Committee for Human Rights and submitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It explains at the outset that the report itself:
“... does not constitute an instrument providing an authoritative interpretation of the text of the Protocol, although it might be of such a nature as to facilitate the understanding of the provisions contained therein.”
49. As regards Article 3 of Protocol No. 7, the report notes, inter alia:
“23. Secondly, the article applies only where the person’s conviction has been reversed or he has been pardoned, in either case on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there has been a miscarriage of justice – that is, some serious failure in the judicial process involving grave prejudice to the convicted person. Therefore, there is no requirement under the article to pay compensation if the conviction has been reversed or a pardon has been granted on some other ground ...
25. In all cases in which these preconditions are satisfied, compensation is payable ‘according to the law or the practice of the State concerned’. This does not mean that no compensation is payable if the law or practice makes no provision for such compensation. It means that the law or practice of the State should provide for the payment of compensation in all cases to which the article applies. The intention is that States would be obliged to compensate persons only in clear cases of miscarriage of justice, in the sense that there would be acknowledgement that the person concerned was clearly innocent. The article is not intended to give a right of compensation where all the preconditions are not satisfied, for example, where an appellate court had quashed a conviction because it had discovered some fact which introduced a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused and which had been overlooked by the trial judge.”
The applicant complains under Article 6 § 2 of the Convention that the decision not to award her compensation violated the presumption of innocence.
QUESTION TO THE PARTIES