Sunday, December 11, 2016

An appellate mulligan for Sergeant Blackman

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has sent the case of Royal Marines Sergeant Alexander Blackman back to the Courts Martial Appeal Court. The CCRC's press release can be found here. It notes:
The detailed reasons for the referral will be set out in a document prepared by the Commission and called a Statement of Reasons. That Statement of Reasons will be supplied to Mr Blackman and his legal team, led by Mr Jonathan Goldberg QC. It will also be sent to the Service Prosecution Authority and the Courts Martial Appeal Court. The Commission is not at liberty to make the Statement of Reasons public. 
Why not? One would think that compelling a court of law to reconsider a decided case should be done only with complete transparency.

The CCRC press release observes:
A referral by the Commission means that the relevant appeal court is obliged to hear a full appeal. There is no need for an application for leave to appeal as long as the grounds for the appeal form part of the Commission’s reasons for referring the case. (If an appellant wishes to add grounds of appeal that do not form part of the Commission’s Statement of Reasons, they must seek the court’s leave (permission) to do so.[)]
One can only wonder what the judges make of the CCRC's power.

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