A dying pensioner who was jailed for robbery has won a decades-long fight to have his convictions overturned – becoming what is believed to be the first person in British legal history to be ruled a victim of two separate miscarriages of justice.
Martin Foran, 70, who has terminal cancer, yesterday won an appeal against convictions for four counts of robbery dating back to 1978 after the Court of Appeal cast doubt on “tainted” police officers who investigated his original case.
He was originally prosecuted following an investigation by the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad, one of the most notoriously corrupt police units in British history.
A panel of judges, including Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Dingemans and Mr Justice William Davis, concluded they could no longer be certain that Mr Foran confessed to his crimes, as had been alleged by the prosecution, and quashed his convictions from 1978.
Mr Foran’s success yesterday follows an earlier victory at the same court last year when judges overturned his “unsafe” convictions from 1985 for robbery and conspiracy to rob.
“It has gone down in history as a double miscarriage of justice,” he said yesterday. He had previously said it was his dying wish to go to his grave an innocent man.
Following his conviction at a trial at Birmingham Crown Court in May 1985, Mr Foran, from Manchester, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term.
In June 1978, following another trial at Birmingham Crown Court, he was jailed for a total of 10 years.
When the case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), it was warned there was “evidence relating to the credibility of officers of the West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad who were involved in the case against Mr Foran”.
The squad was disbanded in 1989 – an investigation by another force had revealed malpractice which included physical abuse, the generation of false confessions, the planting of evidence and the mishandling of informants.
At least 33 convictions resulting from tainted evidence given by members of the squad have been quashed by the Court of Appeal – including the convictions of the Birmingham Six for an IRA bombing in November 1974.Reuse content