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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Farmer appeals against conviction
Tony Martin
Tony Martin: Taking one day at a time
Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for murdering a burglar and injuring his accomplice, is to begin an appeal against his conviction next Monday.

The Court of Appeal is to consider allegations that members of the jury at Martin's trial were intimidated by "heavies" in the courtroom, and were misdirected by the judge's summing-up.

Martin, 55, was found guilty in April of murdering teenage burglar Fred Barras, 16, and wounding his accomplice Brendan Fearon, 30, with a shotgun.

Announcing news of the appeal on Wednesday, Martin's solicitor, Nick Makin, said the farmer was pleased the appeal procedure was finally beginning.

"He is very frustrated at being in prison and he is looking forward to getting out," said Mr Makin.

Fred Barras
Fred Barras: Died from gun wounds
"He wants to get the hearing over and done with and get on with the main appeal.

"The Court of Appeal on Monday will consider whether or not to allow the jury to be examined in that appeal."

Mr Makin told BBC News Online he hoped Monday's hearing would produce two results.

"We are hoping the court will order a police investigation into the allegations of jury intimidation.

"And secondly we hope they will make directions for a swift appeal."

But Professor Michael Zander, legal expert at the London School of Economics, said it was "inconceivable" that the court would grant permission for jurors to give evidence in the witness box.

"The only possibility is that the court would accept an affidavit from jurors. But even that would be surprising."

Martin's defence team argues that a fair trial was not possible because there was an atmosphere of intimidation for jurors and witnesses.

Death 'regrettable'

Martin, of Bleak House, Emneth Hungate, near Emneth, Norfolk, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted by a 10-2 majority at the end of an eight-day trial at Norwich Crown Court in April.

He was also convicted of wounding Fearon, also of Newark, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The farmer was cleared of attempting to murder Fearon and of possessing a pump-action shotgun with intent to endanger life.

Jurors heard the burglars had been shot after breaking into Martin's isolated home late at night in August.

Barras had been shot in the back and Fearon in the groin.

The farmer, who claimed he had fired in self-defence, has since described the death of Barras as "regrettable" and says he had not intended to kill him.

The case provoked widespread debate over issues of self-defence and rural policing.

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26 Apr 00 | UK Politics
Hague backs right to defend homes
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