Legal victory over wrongful convictions compensation

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The Supreme Court allowed appeals today by two men who say they were victims of miscarriages of justice and were wrongly refused compensation after their murder convictions were overturned.

Justices ruled in favour of Raymond McCartney and Eamonn MacDermott, both from Northern Ireland, who were convicted in January 1979 of murder and membership of the IRA but had their convictions quashed in February 2007.

But a nine-strong panel rejected a similar challenge by former aircraft engineer Andrew Adams, of Newcastle upon Tyne, who spent 14 years in jail before his murder conviction was ruled unsafe.

They announced their ruling in a case of importance to other similar claims - including that of Barry George, who was acquitted of the murder of television presenter Jill Dando after spending eight years behind bars.

The judges had been asked to define the meaning of "miscarriage of justice" under the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

Today's ruling set a new test for what constitutes a miscarriage of justice.