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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Conviction quashed after 34 years
A pensioner from Cumbria, convicted of assault 34 years ago, has expressed his delight that his name has been cleared.

Edward Caley-Knowles, now aged 69, of Whitehaven, had his 1972 conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm quashed by the Court of Appeal.

He had claimed justification, but the trial judge said this was no defence in law, and directed the jury to return a guilty verdict without retiring.

Appeal court judges have now concluded that his conviction was unsafe.

Mr Caley-Knowles had been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years at Kendal Crown Court, for an assault on a fellow railway worker.

He said he was shocked when the guilty verdict was returned.

'Kangaroo court'

He said: "They are supposed to adjourn to decide it, how can it be a verdict in which they are all agreed when it was never even discussed?.

"I just said 'What a farce, this is a kangaroo court'."

His case was one of two referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

It followed a decision by the House of Lords that there were no circumstances in which a judge was entitled to direct a jury to return a verdict of guilty.

Quashing the convictions, Lord Justice Tuckey, sitting with Mr Justice Leveson and Mr Justice Davis, said: "The decision in each case was not in reality made by the jury at all. In each case it was made by the judge."

Following clarification of the law, the court was "driven to the conclusion that the convictions are unsafe and must be quashed."

Mr Caley-Knowles added: "I am delighted."

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