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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Bail denied to 1977 murderer
Brown's mother leaves the Court of Appeal
Brown's mother leaves the Court of Appeal
One of Britain's longest serving prisoners has been refused bail pending a full hearing into his appeal against a murder conviction.

Robert Brown, from Glasgow, was jailed for life in 1977 after being found guilty of murdering Manchester woman Annie Walsh.

Brown has vigorously denied the killing and been refused parole because he said it would signal an admission of guilt.

He appeared before the Appeal Court in London on Tuesday after his case was referred there by the Criminal Case Review Commission.


I am going to try and hold on anyway, it's up to God whether I am still hear when he comes out or not

Margaret Brown, Robert's mother

Refusing bail, Court of Appeal judge Mr Justice Roderick-Evans accepted there were "very strong arguments" in Brown's appeal, due for hearing in October.

But he said that at present he remained a convicted man.

Crown counsel Julian Bevan QC said the Crown would contest the appeal, but took a neutral stance on the question of bail.

'No danger'

Brown glanced at his sick mother, Margaret, at the rear of the court during the hearing.

After the verdict Mrs Brown said she hoped to see her son again.

"I am going to try and hold on anyway, it's up to God whether I am still here when he comes out or not," she said.

His counsel, Ben Emerson QC, said Brown was not regarded as a danger to the public and there was no risk of his absconding.

"He wants to be in a position to care for his mother in the time she has left," he said.

Annie Walsh
Annie Walsh was battered to death

"There is a very real possibility that this appeal will not be determined before she dies."

Mr Emerson said Brown, like other victims of miscarriages of justice, was caught in a Catch 22 situation because, by maintaining his innocence, he made himself ineligible for parole.

He said it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Brown's conviction would be quashed.

"The defence says that the confession statement was involuntary and was the result of threats, intimidation and repeated physical violence involving a number of officers over a period of nearly 36 hours which had the effect of breaking his will," said Mr Emerson.

Compassionate visit

Brown, who is being held at Wymott Prison in Lancashire, was recently allowed to visit his mother in Glasgow on day release from prison - but remained handcuffed to prison officers.

At the time he told BBC Scotland that he believed the courts should give him a "shot at justice" and grant him bail.

Brown insists that police framed him for the death of the 51-year-old Annie Walsh.

Robert Brown and his security guard
Brown was handcuffed at all times on his visit

He previously told a BBC Scotland Frontline programme that police officers bullied him and that he signed a false confession.

New evidence is expected to be heard linking another man to Miss Walsh's murder and expert analysis of Brown's confession which alleges it was a false statement.

His solicitor Robert Lizar told BBC Scotland that his client was determined to clear his name.

He explained that Brown's tariff was set at 15 years, which meant that he could already have walked out of prison if he had been willing to admit the offence.

'Extremely reluctant

"You can understand why he wasn't willing to do so," said Mr Lizar.

The lawyer said the legal system had been "extremely reluctant" to admit its mistakes over the case.

But he added: "I think the chances of winning the appeal are very strong.

"We felt there was a very strong argument both in terms of the strength of the appeal and also in terms of the humanitarian argument that obviously Mrs Brown is desperately ill.

"And that, for these few months, the court was being invited to allow Robert Brown time to care for her."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Scotland's Reevel Alderson reports
"Robert Brown's mother was disappointed but defiant"
See also:

26 Jun 02 | Scotland
13 Jun 02 | England
12 Jun 02 | Scotland
09 Apr 02 | Scotland
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