Bristol Innocence Project loses Simon Hall appeal

The University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) was dealt a bitter blow today (14 January) after its fight against a man’s murder conviction failed.

UoBIP had been working to overturn Simon Hall’s conviction for the murder of 79-year-old Joan Albert for the past five years, with the appeal being secured initially because of the team’s successful research and analysis into the forensic evidence that formed the basis of his conviction.

UoBIP assistant director and research assistant Gabe Tan, who has headed the investigation into Hall’s claim of innocence, said: “We’re obviously very disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal to uphold the conviction of Simon Hall. We have been working on the case since 2006 and done much research on the fibre evidence, finding it to be both flimsy and unreliable,”

“Some people are asking us if it is the end of the rope for us, and all I can say is that it is definitely not, as we know that Simon Hall is innocent and will continue as long as he is happy for us to do so.”

The case was the first worked on by a UK Innocence Project to secure an appeal, which took place over three days from 7 December 2010.  The Court of Appeal reserved judgement on 9 December 2010 to consider the complicated scientific evidence.

Senior lecturer in Bristol’s School of Law and the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, Dr Michael Naughton, established UoBIP in 2005 as an extra-curricular pro bono legal clinic and over the past few years around 25 students have been involved in Hall’s case.