Men convicted of robbing Malaysian student during riots have convictions quashed
13:32 29 November 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Two men who were locked up after being found guilty of involvement in one of the defining moments of the London riots have today had their convictions quashed.
Millions of people around the world watched CCTV footage of 21-year-old Ashraf Rossli being robbed in Barking by men purporting to be Good Samaritans.
Mr Rossli, a Malaysian accountancy student, had only moments earlier had his jaw shattered by another rioter as he cycled in Barking, east London, in August 2011.
John Kassongs Kafunda, 23, of Eastwood Road, Goodmayes, and Reece Donovan, 25, of Cross Road, Romford, were accused of robbing him as he walked dazed over the Queen’s Road flyover.
At Wood Green Crown Court, Mr Kafunda was jailed for four years and three months for robbery and violent disorder, and Mr Donovan for five years for robbery, violent disorder and burglary.
They appealed and today saw their convictions overturned by the country’s top judge, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with two senior colleagues.
The hearing was held in private at the Court of Appeal, but Lord Judge, Mr Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Bean announced their decision in open court.
Mr Rossli had been in Britain for only a month when he was attacked on August 8, 2011.
Moments later, he is seen in footage being lifted to his feet and, seemingly, shepherded away from trouble.
But soon two men begin rifling through his bag while his back is turned, making off with a games console and games.
As police looked for the offenders, the footage was posted on YouTube and was watched around the world.
Mr Kafunda and Mr Donovan insisted it was not them in the video clip, but were convicted on the back of anonymous witness evidence.
The prosecution did not seek a retrial.