Making a Positive Impact Together
October 24, 2023 - MoFo Pro Bono

MoFo Assists UK Charity in Criminal Appeal to Overturn Wrongful Conviction and Life Sentence

Pro Bono Week

MoFo recently assisted APPEAL, a UK charity and law practice dedicated to fighting miscarriages of justice, in helping to overturn Andrew Malkinson’s wrongful conviction for rape, for which he spent over 17 years in prison.

 Malkinson was convicted in 2004 but always maintained his innocence. He could have been released after his life sentence, which had a minimum term of six years and 125 days, had he admitted to committing the offense. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the statutory body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, rejected Malkinson’s application for appeal of his conviction twice (in 2012 and 2020), despite being made aware in 2009 of an unknown person’s DNA being present on the victim’s vest top. His case was referred to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) of England and Wales in January 2023 as new DNA testing linked the crime to another man.

On July 26, 2023, the Court of Appeal quashed Malkinson’s conviction in light of new DNA evidence implicating another suspect.

Giving its full judgment on August 7, 2023, the Court also ruled that Greater Manchester Police withheld key evidence from his trial defense, including photographs, which contradicted medical evidence, and the criminal convictions, including for dishonesty offenses, of two key prosecution witnesses. The Court held that these disclosure failures caused disadvantage to the defense, infringing on Malkinson’s right to a fair trial.

Harriet Slater, an associate in MoFo’s London litigation department, has worked on Malkinson’s case for over six years, since the case was first taken on by APPEAL, when she was a trainee solicitor at another firm. She continued to work on the case at her subsequent firm and then brought the case with her when she joined Morrison Foerster, where she has worked alongside partner Hayley Ichilcik and trainee solicitors Jacqueline Lee and Kyle Howard, who also assisted APPEAL with the appeal hearing preparations.

“It has taken over six years from my instruction to Andy’s case being heard in the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal and for his conviction to be overturned,” Harriet said. “Undoubtably, it has been one of the highlights of my career to witness Andy being told that he was able to leave court a free man. Andy’s legal team contributed thousands of hours to the case and had so many setbacks before hearing those words – it is fantastic that all of the hard work has paid off and highlights the importance of this work to ensure that justice is served”.

Learn more about APPEAL and its work.