Zaheer Afzal of St Philips Chambers, Michael Ivers QC of Garden Court Chambers and Kevin Metzger of Great James Street Chambers successfully defended CB, a Coventry man who was charged with murder, manslaughter and armed robbery. CB was delighted to have been found not guilty.
The victim, PD, was a young man from Coventry who was attacked by an armed gang and stabbed to death outside a petrol station in what the prosecution suggested was a tit for tat attack between two rival gangs in Coventry.
After a multi-week trial at Leamington Justice Centre, a Jury unanimously acquitted CB after deliberating for just over 3 hours. Four other defendants who had been represented by other legal defence teams were convicted – they will be sentenced in due course for their parts in the killing of PD.
Opening the case to the Jury, the prosecution explained that the deceased had been with two friends at a petrol station late in the evening when they were ambushed by members of an opposing gang on a petrol station forecourt – this gang of five men was alleged to have included CB and the four other men who were convicted.
The prosecution case was that CB was the ‘lead man’ responsible for the stabbing. However, CB’s defence team proved that the police had made crucial mistakes in their analysis of the CCTV evidence and interpretation of the telephone evidence. Both experts in CCTV and cell site telephone analysis were forced to row back on their original conclusions because of the diligence and hard work of the defence team in preparing the case on behalf of CB.
The main plank of the prosecution case was the evidence of a confession made by CB to the mother of one of the other defendants – she told the court CB had accepted being present at the petrol station and causing the lethal injury to the victim by stabbing him. The defence were able to destroy the credibility of the prosecution’s star witness who was reporting this alleged confession by CB. The defence team for CB undermined the credibility of the prosecution main witness using analysis of her behaviour and activity on her mobile phone and a deep exploration with the jury of her motives for suggesting CB had accepted responsibility for the killing to her.
This was a difficult case involving complex and novel areas of law which at one point required the Court of Appeal to intervene mid-case to rule on the admissibility of the confession evidence. It was a hard fought and hard-won victory for which CB expressed his immense gratitude to the defence team.
CB and his mother were ecstatic with the outcome. CB thanked his defence team profusely for their commitment to his cause and their tireless hard work. He noted that but for their passion and commitment to his defence he would not have succeeded and been a free man.
Zaheer Afzal, Michael Ivers QC and Kevin Metzger were instructed to defend CB by Mr Aftab Zahoor from Clayton Solicitors.
Written by Su Turner Gilbert