Train robber Biggs pursues appeal fight

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train robber, began a High Court bid to be released from prison yesterday a year after he flew back to Britain to resume his 30-year sentence.

His lawyers and his son, Michael Biggs, lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice to challenge the refusal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to consider his case for appeal.

They contend that his 30-year sentence was too harsh and "disproportionate" given the minor role he played in the robbery compared with the sentences received by other members of the gang. The court is also being asked to contrast the "enormous disparity" between his sentence and the 15-year jail term given to Buster Edwards.

Biggs, 72, remains on the hospital wing at Belmarsh prison, south-east London, and is bringing the legal challenge as his health fails. The CCRC has already rejected submissions on behalf of Biggs that his was "an exceptional case" and should be sent back to the Court of Appeal.

His conviction and subsequent escape and high-profile life in Rio de Janeiro brought him worldwide notoriety. But, with his health failing after three strokes, Biggs ended his 35-year exile and returned home to face prison last May.

Speaking from the steps of the High Court, Michael Biggs said that the CCRC's given reason, that the case was "not exceptional" was "fundamentally wrong and flies in the face of the facts".

"My father has been a law-abiding man for over 30 years, but the current court system no longer seems to give any weight to this," he said.