Sex attack taxi driver has conviction appeal bid thrown out

Cathy Gordon,Press Association
Tuesday 15 June 2010 13:00 BST

A taxi driver convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers had a conviction appeal bid thrown out by top judges today.

John Worboys, now 53, who is serving an indefinite jail term for public protection, had asked three judges in London for an adjournment of his application for leave to appeal in the light of legal advice that his current grounds of challenge were "unsustainable".

But Lord Justice Moses, sitting with Mr Justice Holman and Mrs Justice Rafferty, refused to grant the adjournment and dismissed his application which related to two counts, one of rape and one of sexual assault.

Black cab driver Worboys, from Rotherhithe, south-east London, was told he must serve a minimum of eight years after being found guilty at the end of a trial last year at Croydon Crown Court of assaulting 12 women during an 18-month reign of terror in London.

Many of his victims were young women who had been drinking at bars and clubs at trendy night spots in the West End and Chelsea.

The cabbie offered them champagne spiked with powerful sedatives to celebrate a fictional lottery win, backed up with a carrier bag stuffed full of cash.

The drugs left the women insensible and unable to protect themselves as he pounced on them in the back of the vehicle.

Giving the Court of Appeal's ruling today, Lord Justice Moses said Worboys had asked for the adjournment for a new legal team to instruct scientists "to examine evidence in a way in which it is said it had not previously been examined by the legal team at trial".

But the judge ruled: "Having advanced unsustainable grounds the proper and only result can be that the application should be dismissed."

He added: "Advancing unsustainable grounds cannot possibly be a basis for overriding and extending the strict time limits laid down by statute in the hope that the applicant can keep his foot in the door and some time in the future something might turn up."

It "creates nothing but anxiety and concern in the minds of all those involved in the trial, not least his 12 victims".

The judge said his victims would be "surprised, astonished and dismayed to learn that the mere fact of the unsustainable appeal being advanced led to some open-ended prospect of some future hearing".

He added: "They need to come to terms with the closure of these appalling offences and if we were to grant an adjournment we would be impeding and inhibiting this process and in these circumstances the application is refused."

The court heard that if new grounds of appeal did arise Worboys could attempt to appeal out of time or approach the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

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