May 25 2013 Latest news:
Jessica Earnshaw , Reporter
Saturday, May 26, 2012
A man serving a prison sentence for a firearms offence has been freed after judges decided to overturn his conviction.
Thomas Cudjoe, 29, of Richmond Road, Ilford was sentenced to five years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June after he was convicted of possessing a firearm.
The handgun had been used to fire a bullet cartridge which was found near the spot in Ilford where two men were shot and seriously injured in August 2010.
Mr Cudjoe was tried for attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm (GBH), but acquitted on the crown court judge’s direction due to a lack of evidence.
His firearms conviction also went the same way after prosecution lawyers decided not to oppose his appeal to Lord Justice Goldring, Justice Hedley and Justice Calvert-Smith on Thursday.
At the previous trial, prosecution lawyers put forward evidence of a complaint by another man that Mr Cudjoe had threatened him with a gun on another occasion.
Lord Justice Goldring said he doubted whether admitting the “prejudicial” evidence of the alleged threats was the right thing for the trial judge to do.
The defendant’s lawyers had also argued that, once he was acquitted of the attempted murder and GBH charges, the jury should have been discharged and a new one sworn in to consider the firearms allegation.
Lord Justice Goldring said the jurors had already heard emotive evidence about the gunshot victims’ injuries, which was irrelevant to the firearms offence they were then considering.
He added: “We allow the appeal. The respondent is not seeking a retrial. That, in our view, is the correct decision. There would be no reasonable prospect of conviction. The appellant is therefore free to go.”
Police swooped on the homeless, grabbing sleeping bags and food parcels donated by the public, in co-ordinated raids around the borough.