R v Raymond John Betson; R v Cockran
|England & Wales
|THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE,THE VICE PRESIDENT
|22 January 2004
| EWCA Crim 254, EWCA Crim 2268
|No: 200201282/B2-200201577/B2-200201596/B2,No. 2002/01282/W4, 2002/01477/W4
|Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
|22 January 2004
 EWCA Crim 2268
IN THE COURT oF APPEAL CRIMINAL DIVISION
Royal Courts of Justice
The Lord Chief Justice Of England And Wales
(The Lord Woolf Of Barnes)
Mr Justice Penry-davey and
Mr Justice Henriques
No. 2002/01282/W4, 2002/01477/W4
MR P R HYNES appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT BETSON
MR R CHERRILL appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT MEREDITH
MR O S P BLUNT QC appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT COCKRAN
MR J LYNCH QC appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT CIARROCCHI
MR J EVANS appeared on behalf of THE CROWN
Monday 28 July 2003
Yes, Mr Evans?
May it please you, my Lord, I appear on behalf of the Crown, the respondent. My Lord, may I deal firstly with representation?
My Lord, the appellant Raymond Betson is represented by Mr Paul Hynes, William Cockran by Mr Oliver Blunt QC, Aldo Ciarrocchi by Mr Jerome Lynch QC and Mr Kevin Meredith by Mr Richard Cherrill.
Yes. Just pause for a moment. A request was made to me by those who are responsible for the prisoners' security, for one of the prisoners to wear handcuffs, which I declined. But they are here, I understand?
My Lord, I am aware that the appellants are here today, but I had heard that they were not being produced.
Certainly, my Lord, Mr Ciarrocchi is here today at our request and in the event that your Lordships would hear his appeal against sentence we would welcome him being brought into court at your Lordships' convenience.
Yes, he can be brought up. We can continue in the meantime, can we not, Mr Lynch?
My Lord, yes.
My Lord, I am grateful. The position today now is that the matter is before the court for two reasons. Firstly, my Lord, the Crown seek a number of directions from the court in relation to the grounds of appeal against conviction lodged by a number of the appellants. My Lord, the position is that this matter comes before the court following a trial at the Central Criminal Court which concluded in February of last year. My Lord, Betson, Cockran and Ciarrocchi were convicted of conspiracy to rob in relation to the De-Beers' diamonds at the Millennium Dome. Mr Meredith was convicted in relation to conspiracy to steal.
My Lord, the present position is that as far as the convictions are concerned, appeals have been lodged on behalf of Mr Betson, Mr Cockran and also Mr Meredith. My Lord, the court, as I understand the position, has given that a listing for 3 November of this year with a time estimate of three days for that hearing.
Which all parties think is a correct estimate of time?
My Lord, it may well be that it goes shorter than the three days, and one of the reasons for the directions being sought by the Crown was to ensure that a greater particularity could follow in relation to the proposed grounds of appeal. It might in fact shorten the time estimate for the hearing itself.
I must confess that, having read quite a considerable amount of the papers, I was surprised as to the three-day estimate. It sounded on the long side to me.
My Lord, I respectfully agree. It may well be that matters go somewhat shorter. In fact, my Lord, the position also is that so far as the appeals against sentence are concerned, applications are before the court on behalf of all four appellants: Mr Betson, Mr Cockran, Mr Ciarrocchi and Mr Meredith. My Lord, the Crown understand that an application is to be made today before the court -
You say applications -I thought that leave had been granted.
My Lord, leave has been granted. My Lord, the position is that application is to be made on behalf of Mr Meredith and Mr Ciarrocchi for the court to hear those appeals against sentence today. As I understand the position, Mr Lynch would wish to make representations to the court at this stage in order to determine whether the court will proceed to hear his application. My Lord, the Crown just wished to raise the matter of directions and it may be that the court would wish to hear from Mr Lynch first of all to determine the timetable for today's hearing.
The only point I would make is this. ( Pause) This may be an indication that Mr Lynch's client is about to arrive.
THE ASSOCIATE: Are you Aldo Ciarrocchi?
THE APPELLANT (ALDO CIARROCCHI): Yes.
THE ASSOCIATE: Sit down, please.
My Lord, unless I can assist further, Mr Lynch wishes to raise the matter with my Lord at this time.
Does the Crown have any view about when the appeal is heard in the case of Mr Ciarrocchi and in the case of Mr Meredith?
My Lord, no.
My Lord, unusually we apply for your Lordships to hear it at this stage. Really it is predicated on one basis and one basis alone and that is this. This appellant is an Italian citizen. He has sought to be repatriated back to Italy. The machinery for that has been put in place. May I hand to your Lordships some copies of letters received from both the Prison Service and the Probation Service?
What is the situation? I understood that he was appealing against conviction as well?
He is not?
He does not. He at this stage, and has only ever, applied to appeal against sentence. We ask your Lordships to deal with that today so that the determination of his final sentence can be settled today, which can then effectively mean that he can be repatriated sooner rather than later.
Pretty much everything has been done that needs to be done for his repatriation. All we need is the final date. I would simply draw your Lordship's attention to the fact -it has already been referred to -he was convicted in February 2002. The reason why it has taken this long for him to be dealt with by way of his appeal against sentence is because he has been linked to those who have sought to appeal conviction. Understandably, they have sought more and more time in order as it were to be properly prepared.
My Lord, we are here again because the matter has been put back again to November. This appellant can be in Italy then and serving his sentence there with his family around him. We invite your Lordships, unusually, to hear this appeal against sentence today.
As you rightly say, Mr Lynch, it is unusual. Do I understand the position is that he has family here now at the moment?
They are all moving to Italy.
They are moving, but they have not moved yet?
They hope to be in Italy by November -October, I am told. They are setting up. If I may say so, my Lord, it is a realistic approach that this appellant takes because he realises that with such a notorious crime, when he does eventually come to be released he will have almost no prospect of employment here. He sees his future as being back in Italy and the earlier he can secure that the better.
Thank you very much. We had better hear the application in respect of Meredith as well.
My Lord, yes, I appear for Mr Meredith, as your Lordship knows. He was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, having been convicted of conspiracy to steal.
And he appeals by leave of the single judge against sentence. Originally his appeal was to be heard in May of this year, but delay has overtaken his appeal and the appeal against conviction is not due to be heard, as your Lordship knows, until 3 November. He is due for release on parole -subject to one matter which I may return to -he is due for release on parole on 6 November and therefore we apply for the court to hear -again somewhat unusually -his appeal against sentence.
It would be extremely unusual to hear an appeal against sentence at a time when an application to appeal against conviction is still outstanding.
My Lord, yes. That is a touchy subject because I have been told today by his wife, who is present, that he, Mr Meredith, has been told that he will be released on parole on 6 November, even if this court were to dismiss his appeal against sentence, but he will only be released on parole if he withdraws his appeal against conviction. If his appeal against conviction continues in existence, then he will not be released on 6 November, which is an unfortunate state of affairs. My instructions are that if the court today is prepared to hear his appeal against sentence and dismisses that appeal, then he would wish to withdraw his appeal against conviction so that he can be released on 6 November. It is a very odd state of affairs and most unsatisfactory, if I may say so, but I would hope your Lordships will take the view that, as an act of mercy, it would be right to hear his appeal against sentence because if it is postponed yet again, it having been set for May and again today, then it is in fact a waste of time.
Yes, I understand the situation.
The Crown do not oppose our application for it to be heard today. It is very much in your Lordship's hands.
Yes. What I do not quite understand is why the outcome of the appeal against sentence should determine whether he proceeds with his appeal against conviction?
Because if he is successful in his appeal against sentence, then he does not...
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