Sam Hallam to appeal against Clerkenwell estate murder conviction

A young man serving a 12 year prison sentence for murder has had his case referred to the Court of Appeal.

A young man serving a 12 year prison sentence for murder has had his case referred to the Court of Appeal.

Sam Hallam, 23, was jailed for the murder of Essayas Kassahun who, in October 2004, was attacked by a group of youths on the St Luke’s Estate in Clerkenwell, at the corner of Old Street and Bath Street. He died in hospital two days later having never regained consciousness.

Hallam, who was 17 at the time of the attack and is from Hoxton, was tried at the Old Bailey for murder and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and violent disorder and was sentenced to a minimum jail term of 12 years.

He appealed against the conviction but it was dismissed in March 2007. Hallam, whose friends and family set up an online campaign to free him, then applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) which announced today (Friday) that the case will be reviewed.

The Court of Appeal which will now hear a fresh appeal against Mr Hallam’s conviction and make a decision on whether to quash or uphold it.

In a statement, the CCRC said: “The prosecution case was based principally on the evidence of two witnesses who said they were present at the murder scene and said they saw Sam Hallam there and saw him take part in the fatal attack on Mr Kassahun. Mr Hallam maintained that he was elsewhere on the night of the killing. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted.”

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It continued: “The Commission has carried out an extensive investigation into the case pursuing many of its own lines of enquiry as well as investigating the issues raised by Mr Hallam and his supporters.

“Following its investigations into the case, the Commission has decided to refer Sam Hallam’s convictions to the Court of Appeal because it considers that a range of issues, including new evidence capable of casting doubt on the reliability of identification evidence at trial, together raise the real possibility that the Court of Appeal would now quash the conviction.”