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Confusion after kill 'admission'

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Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 165
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject: Confusion after kill 'admission' Reply with quote

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12:00 - 19 July 2006
The appeal of seven Nottingham men convicted of the drive-by murder of an innocent man was thrown into turmoil after it emerged one of them has confessed to being the gunman.

Their trial at Sheffield Crown Court in 2004 made legal history because, although the police could not prove who the killer was, nine people were convicted of murder.

But yesterday London's Court of Appeal heard Leon Bryan is prepared to admit he pulled the trigger on December 18, 2002, when Gerald Smith, 42, of Sheffield, was gunned down outside an Afro-Caribbean Club in Burngreave, Sheffield.

Bryan, 23, then of Limmer Gardens, St Ann's, was convicted at Sheffield Crown Court in 2004 alongside eight other men, all from Nottingham, of the murder of Mr Smith.

Between them they were sentenced to a minimum 195 years.

Yesterday, all but Christopher McKenzie, 22, of Melville Gardens, St Ann's and Gareth Lindsay, 22, of Perlethorpe Drive, Carlton, were due to begin a challenge against their convictions, but the case was adjourned when it emerged that Bryan has now implicated himself as the killer.

A formal statement will be taken from him. It is not yet known whether he admits to murdering Mr Smith, or will argue that he never intended to kill him, but judges were told he insists that no one else knew that he was carrying a gun.

When the appeal resumes, the Crown may argue that even if the judges accept Bryan's evidence - which is not a formality in criminal appeals - his co-accused knew he was armed and capable of using the gun and were rightly convicted.

Bryan's alleged confession emerged after he told a probation officer that he was responsible, and his barrister Michael Evans said he (Bryan) was prepared to make a sworn statement which could be used in court.

John Benson QC, for defendant Roger Gordon, 30, previously of Hungerhill Road, St Ann's, said had the evidence been available at trial, it may have rendered his conviction unsafe.

"The statement of Mr Bryan confirms the suspicions we had on behalf of Gordon that Bryan was a strong candidate for having pulled the trigger of the gun," said Mr Benson, who insisted that Gordon wasn't even at the scene.

Arguing that Bryan's statement was "capable of belief" and "reliable", he urged Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mr Justice Silber and Sir John Alliott, to allow it to be given in evidence.

James Wood QC, for defendant Richard Powell, 28, of Amesbury Circus, Cinderhill, said Bryan's statement also impacted on Powell's proposed appeal.

Barristers for the others reserved their position before seeing the full statement, while the judges were told that McKenzie and Lindsay may also now seek to appeal.

Lady Justice Hallett asked for Bryan to be warned that if he made a false statement he could face further criminal charges.

No date was set for when the appeal will resume.
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Joined: 29 Jun 2006
Posts: 310

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find that I have a certain attraction to the US method of dealing with this sort of crime, where ALL those involved can be charged with & found guilty of murder.
That way, anyone involved in violent crime knows exactly what the consequences of their actions might lead to.
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