Ipswich: Hall murder appeal decision due tomorrow
SIMON Hall is due to discover tomorrow whether his appeal against conviction for the murder of 79-year-old Joan Albert has been successful.
After five weeks of deliberation by three Court of Appeal judges, Lord Justice Pitchford is scheduled to hand down their judgement just before 10am relating to the case of the 33-year-old from Capel St Mary.
Last month the judges listened to three days of evidence from forensic scientists relating to the fibre evidence which convicted Hall of stabbing Mrs Albert to death.
They reserved judgement on December 9 saying they would retire to consider the complicated scientific evidence.
Among their options are upholding the conviction, ordering a retrial, or quashing Hall’s conviction
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Hall, formerly of Hill House Road, Ipswich, was convicted of murder at Norwich Crown Court.
Mrs Albert was found stabbed to death at her home in Boydlands, Capel St Mary, on December 16, 2001.
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Hall has always denied killing Mrs Albert.
During Hall’s appeal, the court heard his conviction relied on the rarity and identical nature of fibre evidence found at Mrs Albert’s home and at Hall’s parents’ house in Snowcroft, where he was living at the time of the murder.
Michael Mansfield, QC, representing Hall, said the trial jury had been inadvertently misled over how rare and indistinguishable the fibres found at the two locations were.
He added that the judge at Hall’s trial, Mrs Justice Rafferty, had told the jury in her summing up, on something like 17 occasions, that the samples were rare and indistinguishable.
Mr Mansfield said: “By the end of the summing up this case was cut and dried on that basis. That’s why we say now the position has changed dramatically from that. It’s no longer cut and dried.”
Earlier in the appeal expert textile analyst Tiernan Coyle said he had used a technique called First Derivative to establish there were differences between the fibres found at Boydlands and Snowcroft.
However, Simon Spence, QC, representing the Crown, said an expert from the Forensic Science Service in Huntingdon had used two different techniques to confirm the original finding that the fibres were identical.
He added an independent analyst had backed this conclusion.