Conviction for Dando killing goes to appeal

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The Independent Online

The man convicted of murdering Jill Dando will try to persuade three senior judges that he was the victim of mistaken identification after being granted leave to appeal.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed yesterday that Barry George will be allowed to take his case before the Court of Appeal at a hearing likely to take place next spring or summer. Three senior judges will hear the evidence and will have the power to quash the guilty verdict, order a retrial or reject the appeal.

George, aged 41, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in July for shooting the television presenter on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999.

A CPS spokesman said yesterday: "We can confirm that Barry George has been granted leave to appeal against his conviction."

His solicitor, Marilyn Etienne, issued a statement within days of the Old Bailey verdict, saying George would seek to appeal against his conviction, which was largely based on identification evidence. During the trial, George's legal team argued that the evidence of a number of witnesses who picked him out at identity parades was unreliable. They also claimed that a speck of gunpowder found in George's overcoat could have arrived there through contamination.

Ms Etienne had said that the appeal would concentrate on "the attendant risks of mistaken identification resulting in wrongful convictions unless stringent protections are enforced. In this case the prosecution rested primarily upon identification evidence.

"The judge directed the jury in terms that they could not convict unless they accepted the identification evidence as reliable. There was no other evidence which could found a conviction."