June 19 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Hoxton man Sam Hallam is set to be freed from prison after seven years following dramatic and emotional scenes at a court of appeal hearing today.
He has been in jail for seven years since being convicted of the murder of Essayas Kasshun who was stabbed on St Luke’s Estate, Finsbury, in 2004.
The gallery erupted in cheers and screams of delight as Mr P Wilcox QC, for the Crown, said they would not be opposing the appeal.
Rising to his feet immediately after the break for lunch, he said: “We have given the matter anxious consideration over a good deal of time. We do not intend to oppose the appeal.”
Lady Justice Hallett said: “Try to keep calm. We will make our judgement tomorrow.”
Mr Hallam will be released today on bail pending the judgement.
Mr Kasshun was attacked by a gang of youths and died in hospital two days later. The following year Mr Hallam, then 17, was one of two people convicted of the murder.
Now 24, Mr Hallam has always maintained his innocence.
Friends and relatives convinced of his innocence joined in a pre-appeal vigil on Tuesday night. Crowds of people turned out at St John’s Church, in Hoxton, despite the pouring rain and released hundreds of yellow balloons into the night sky to symbolise their hopes for his release.
Earlier today his barrister referred to “a case that was crying out for judicial intervention.”
Lady Justice Hallett DBE, who sat alongside Mr Justice Spencer and Mr Justice Openshaw, asked the defence to focus on what she called the “three planks of the crown’s case”.
These were the testimony of a male and female witness and the question of Mr Hallam’s “false” alibi.
The court heard Mr Blaxland QC, for Mr Hallam, question how the female witness had changed her evidence. He said: “There was nothing in her original statement – no reference at all to Sam Hallam. The police said there was nothing to suggest she had seen somebody she recognised but could not name. There was no Mr X.”
The witness later claimed she had recognised Mr Hallam, and he said police had asked her leading questions to make the identification sound more positive in court.
The hearing continues.