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Andrew Malkinson’s conviction unsafe because of police evidence disclosure failures, court rules


The Court of Appeal today ruled that Andrew Malkinson’s 2004 conviction was unsafe because Greater Manchester Police (GMP) withheld key evidence from the defence at his trial. Edward Henry KC led the Appellant’s team.

On 26 July 2023, the Court quashed Mr Malkinson’s wrongful conviction, for which he spent over 17 years in prison, because of new DNA evidence implicating another suspect.

Giving its full judgment today, the Court additionally held that the police’s failure to disclose the following evidence to Mr Malkinson’s defence provided a further basis for overturning his conviction on Grounds 2 and 3:

  • Photographs showing the victim’s hands, which contradicted medical evidence used to cast doubt on her account of causing a “deep scratch” to her attacker’s face. (Seen by police officers the day after the attack, Mr Malkinson had no trace of any such injury.)
  • The criminal convictions, including for dishonesty offences, of key prosecution witnesses Michael Seward and Beverley Craig. (These witnesses, who provided the only supporting evidence for the victim’s identification, were portrayed to the jury as honest.)

The Court held that these disclosure failures disadvantaged the defence, breaching Mr Malkinson’s right to a fair trial.

Giving the Court’s judgment, Lord Justice Holroyde reprised the submissions of Edward Henry KC on Ground 1, and the concession made by the Respondent in respect of them:

“When asked by the court whether the respondent wished to say anything about Mr Henry’s submission, that if the new scientific evidence had been available twenty years ago the appellant may not have been prosecuted at all, Mr Price replied –

“My Lord, it is a fair and cogent submission. … It is difficult to see how a responsible prosecution lawyer, looking at this evidence in the round including all of the scientific evidence, it is difficult to see how they might consider that the Code for Crown Prosecutors’ test is met.”

Regarding Ground 2, the Court acknowledged the force of the Appellant’s submissions, having put the Respondent’s arguments:

“Mr Henry has, however, persuaded us that the failure to disclose these photographs was highly material.”

In respect of Ground 3, the Court noted:

 “Mr Henry’s submissions persuade us that cross-examination about the witnesses’ previous convictions would have been capable of casting doubt on their general honesty and capable of affecting the jury’s view as to whether they were civic-minded persons doing their best to assist.”

Edward Henry KC, leading Max Hardy of 9 Bedford Row, initially acted pro bono, instructed by APPEAL, before legal aid was granted.

Edward was honoured to be chosen to represent Mr Malkinson by APPEAL, and to lead his former pupil, Max. APPEAL is a charity and law practice that fights miscarriages of justice and demands reform.

Submissions to the Court of Appeal can be viewed below:

Sky News – Courts


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