Appeal Court hears new evidence in murder case

Sam Hallam
Sam Hallam was aged 17 at the time of the murder. Photo: Hallam family

The Court of Appeal has begun hearing new evidence in the case of Hoxton man Sam Hallam who is currently serving life imprisonment for the murder of trainee chef Essayas Kassahun in October 2004. He died after being attacked by a group of youths on the St Luke's estate in Clerkenwell.

Mr Hallam's supporters are confident the conviction will be quashed and he will walk free. They say the original investigation was flawed and that he was not even at the scene at the time of the murder.

The case was referred to the court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

The prosecution case was based principally on the evidence of two witnesses who said they were present at the murder scene and that they saw Hallam take part in the fatal attack. He says he was elsewhere on the night of the killing.

The CCRC said it referred the case to the Court of Appeal because it "considers that a range of issues, including new evidence capable of casting doubt on the reliability of identification evidence at trial, together raise the real possibility that the Court of Appeal would now quash the conviction".

Supporters of Mr Hallam include Patrick Maguire who was wrongly convicted in 1975 of playing a part in the Guildford pub bombings.