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Tom Little QC obtains double murder conviction following double jeopardy application

News | Thu 14th Nov, 2019

Tom Little QC successfully prosecuted Michael Weir at the Old Bailey for 2 separate murders committed in 1998.

They were the murders of Leonard Harris and Rose Seferian. Michael Weir had originally been convicted in 1999 of the murder of Leonard Harris. That conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2000 on the basis that the DNA profile on the DNA database used for comparative purposes to the blood found on a glove should have been destroyed.

The CPS at the time missed the deadline to appeal to the House of Lords by one day and were therefore not able to appeal the Court of Appeal decision. However, in another case at that same time the House of Lords decided that the Court of Appeal were wrong in Weir and that the DNA evidence was admissible. All of this meant that Weir had been wrongly acquitted but nothing could be done about it.

However, in 2005 Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came in to force which made it possible for the first time to be retried for certain serious offences despite having previously been acquitted if (a) there was new and compelling evidence and (b) it was in the interests of justice. In 2017 a match was found between Weir’s palm print and the Seferian crime scene. That in turn led to a reinvestigation of the Harris murder. Advances in DNA meant that new DNA evidence was found linking Weir to the Harris murder. Tom Little QC advised the DPP in relation to making a double jeopardy application and he then appeared for the DPP in that application before Sir Brian Leveson earlier this year.

The Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal and ordered a retrial which Tom Little QC prosecuted and which concluded in the conviction of Weir for both murders.

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